About this object

Green jade heart scarab inscribed with ten lines of text on the underside.

The ancient Egyptians believed that a person’s heart contained proof of whether they had behaved well or badly in life. No one could claim a life free of sin, but if they were lucky enough to own a heart scarab, they could cheat their way into the Afterlife. The journey through the Afterlife was full of obstacles and challenges. The final hurdle was to be judged at the court of Osiris. Here a person’s heart was removed and weighed by the god Anubis. Wicked people had heavy hearts and were sent to ‘Hell’. A light heart meant an honest life and entry to the Afterlife. Heart scarabs were placed inside the mummy close to the heart. A person’s biggest fear was that their heart would speak out against them during the final judgement. Sometimes a magical spell (Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead) was written on the scarab; it silenced the heart and guaranteed entry into the Afterlife.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Religion
  • Culture
    New Kingdom
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    1186 BC - 1069 BC about
  • Materials
    Jade
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Miss Hartland per Gloucester City Museum, 1953
  • Collector
    Ethel M Hartland
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1830 about
  • Measurements
    38 mm x 57 mm
  • Related people
    Ethel Mary Hartland (Collector, previous owner)

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Ethel Mary Hartland

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1953
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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