Heart Scarab of Amenhotep

M14072

On display

Heart scarab inscribed with ten horizontal lines of hieroglyphs.The underside bears Spell 30b of the Book of the Dead for a man named Amenhotep. Finely carved from green jasper with remains of band of resin (?) and gold foil around the sides and the clypeus. Pierced through the width. Fine technique and good preservation. 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. So a magical spell (Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead) written on the scarab silenced the heart and guaranteed entry into the Afterlife.