Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Afterlife

"My mother all her life had faith; she believed in Heaven.  So either she is in Heaven, or she's wrong and she doesn't know she is wrong."  -- Mary Roach.

My photo of a Middle Kingdom Egyptian mummy and coffin from about the 19th century BC.  The Egyptians definitely believed in an afterlife (and in a very literal way as a mirror image of this life).  This coffin is painted inside and out with religious inscriptions and imagery for the deceased to find his way over to the next life.  The body is carefully embalmed and packaged with a striking death mask with lifelike glass eyes wide open.

An ancient Greek funerary vase from the 9th century BC.  This krater contained cremated remains (the Egyptians found the very idea of cremation unthinkable).  There are no religious inscriptions or imagery.  There are drastically simplified and abstracted figures re-enacting the funeral of the deceased.  The earliest Greeks did not believe in an afterlife.

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