A Review of Judgment of Hunefer Before Osiris
By K. Becerra
The Egyptian Book of the Dead ignited the imagination of Hollywood moviemakers in the early 1990’s, leading to movies with the book being a critical and fearful aspect of the movies. In some representations, the book raised zombies for the pharaoh’s of Egypt and instilled fear in their subjects. Hollywood misinterpreted the purpose, form and function of this historical scroll of ancient Egypt. In this essay, we will examine the true purpose and artistic design elements of this ancient document.
The afterlife weighed heavily on the minds of the ancient Egyptians. Their obsession with death and immortality led to the ...view middle of the document...
The Judgment of Hunefer scroll was created using various formal elements of design including line, shape, color, and space. The subjects in the document were rendered using two-dimensional perspective. The artist composed the people from memory images. The heads, necks, hips, legs and feet are drawn in profile while the torso is drawn facing forward.
The artist made strategic use of scale. When reviewing the scroll it becomes apparent that the artist drew Osiris larger than his counterparts. The size of Osiris was used to illustrate his importance to both the composition and the Egyptian people. In contrast, Osiris’s four sons were drawn much smaller than all of the other figures. One possible explanation for this obvious size difference might be related to the function of the sons. Each son was entrusted with the care of Hunefer’s vital organs, a task that was not essential to the depicted composition. The ankh, although small, is represented seven times showing its importance.
In addition to scale, the artist makes deliberate use of form. Straight lines are used to create the patterns used in Hunefer’s and other deities’ robes. The contrasting diagonal lines give...