About this object

Heart scarab made of blue glass. Uninscribed base.

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
    1550 BC - 1069 BC
  • Materials
    Glass
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Revd. John Greville Chester
  • Collector
    John Greville Rev Chester
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1876
  • Measurements
    10 mm x 33 mm x 50 mm
  • Related people
    Chester (Collector); Greville John Chester (Collector)

Explore related

Publications

  • On Some Ancient Glass in the Mayer collection

    Gatty, Charles T

    Author: Gatty, Charles T
    Publisher: Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire
    Date: 1877
    Description: Article by the Assistant Curator of the Mayer Collection within the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, read out by Gatty before the Society on 22 February 1877.

Object view = Humanities
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