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Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

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About Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

This major exhibition will explain how the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead was thought to guide the deceased safely through the dangers of the underworld, ultimately ensuring eternal life.

The ‘Book' is not a single text, but a compilation of spells, often with illustrations showing the fields and rivers of the underworld, and the gods and demons waiting for the deceased.

The exhibition will feature illustrated manuscripts of the Book of the Dead on papyrus and linen, many from the British Museum's unparalleled collection. These spells and texts were used by Egyptians from around 1600 BC to the 1st century AD, and the exhibition reveals how the texts evolved and changed over the centuries.

Through these remarkable objects, the exhibition will explore the full journey from death to the afterlife, including the day of burial, protection in the tomb, judgement and entering the hereafter. Other objects in the exhibition will include funerary figurines (shabtis), amulets, jewellery, statues and coffins, all used to aid the deceased in attaining the perfect afterlife.

Using a variety of new media and recent research, the exhibition will provide new and interactive ways of understanding the Book of the Dead. In addition, the exhibition will present complete scrolls in their original form, reassembled on display for the first time.

The Book of the Dead has never before been the focus of such a major exhibition and this is the ideal opportunity to find out more about life and death in ancient Egypt.