Anubis, The God of Mumification and the Hereafter
Anubis is one of immortal gods in the ancient Egyptian mythology whose importance is attributed to his great role in the underworld as the protector of the dead bodies. He was called as the Lord of Mummy Wrapping. Moreover, in the papyrus of Nisti-Ta-Nebet-Taui that dates back to the 21 dynasty, he is called the "Lord of the Holy Land" who brings gifts and blessings for the people as a present for Osiris Anubis.
The usual depiction of Anubis is as a Jackal headed man or a complete Jackal. The reason for associating the figure of this animal in particular with Anubis is the fact that jackals were usually seen nearby the cemeteries and thus the people thought that they were protecting the dead bodies. Some historians argue that these animals were surrounding the cemeteries to feed on the sacrifices left there.
As indicated in the Coffin Texts, Anubis was the son of Nephthys that was claimed to be the son of Seth but Isis realized that he was the result of the secret affair between Osiris and Nephthys. As mentioned in the myth of Osiris, Nephthys tried to get ride of her son at the moment of his birth, but Isis saved him and managed to gain the support and trust of him and his mother who helped her in searching for her husband's body. He was responsible for protecting Isis and was truly faithful to her and he helped her to escape from the prison of Seth. It was known that Anubis was knowledgeable of the human language and the art of mummification and many other things. Thus he was commanded by Ra to help Isis in reassembling the body of Osiris and embalming it in the white clothes of the dead. One of the vignettes of the Book of the Dead highlight that he uttered some words that helped Osiris to return to life again and this made the people dignify him hoping that he would treat them in the same way he dealt with his father in the afterlife.
Anubis is depicted performing various roles in the underworld including the role of the "Counter of Heats" who receives the recently deceased bodies and mummifies it to protect the mortal parts of the body. This justifies the appearance of the priests with the head of jackal of Anubis while mummifying the kings. He is presented on the walls of the kings' temples standing next to the "God's Booth" with the jars of the essential needs for glorifying the deceased king. Other inscriptions of Anubis demonstrate that he once occupied the post of the god who weighs the heart of the deceased and write his judgment. Some wall paintings present Anubis in the scene of supporting the mummy while opening the mouth of the dead.
One of the most interesting old myths says that Ammit, or the eater of the dead, is the god responsible for destroying those who fail in the arbitration of Anubis i.e. whose heart's weight exceeds the weigh of the feather. Ammit was depicted as a supernatural animal with the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion, and the head hippopotamus.
There are many statues for Anubis and wall paintings depicting him performing several roles. The most admired depictions for Anubis can be found in the tombs in Abydos and Aswan in addition to the handsome paintings of him in the Book of the Dead. The tomb of Tutankhamun was also supplied with a large number of statues for Anubis in the jackal form, displayed in the Egyptian Museum now.
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