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Egyptian collectables the ancient egyptian deity anubis

Egyptian Collectables: The Ancient Egyptian Deity Anubis

One of my favorite Egyptian collectables is the statue of Anubis. I have always found his image to be very striking; perfect for a deity associated with death and the underworld.

Anubis was an ancient deity and the god of embalming and cemeteries. In the Old Kingdom, Egyptians prayed to Anubis for the survival of the deceased in the afterlife. In later years, Osiris rose to prominence as the god of the dead, but Anubis continued to assist in the judgment of the dead. It is said the Anubis accompanied the deceased to the throne of Osiris for the Weighing of the Heart.

The Weighing of the Heart ceremony was used to judge if the deceased should be allowed a place of honor in the afterlife. On one side of giant scales were the principles of truth and justice, represented by a feather. The feather was the symbol of the goddess of truth, order and justice, Maat. If the heart balanced against the feather then the deceased would be granted a place in the Fields of Hetep and Iaru. However, if the heart was heavy with the weight of wrongdoings, the balance would sink and the heart would be grabbed and devoured by a terrifying beast that sat ready and waiting by the scales.

Anubis had several epithets:

1)    “Foremost of the westerners”: This referred to the dead that were buried on the west bank of the Nile River.

2)    “He who is upon his mountain”: This refers to the desert cliffs overlooking the cemeteries.

3)    “Lord of the sacred land”: Refers to the desert in which burials were located.

4)    “The one presiding over the god’s pavilion”: This refers to the place where embalming took place, or the burial chamber.

5)    “He who is in the place of embalming”

Anubis was depicted as a jackal or a man with the head of a jackal. It is thought that priests who prepared bodies for burial and conducted the actual burial ceremony wore jackal masks in order to impersonate the god. Jackals were common scavengers in Egyptian cemeteries, so it is believed that by honoring Anubis by way of impersonating his appearance, Anubis would protect the dead from molestation.

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