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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Book of Magic and the Afterlife

In ancient Egypt, people believed in a life after death. In the afterlife people needed everything they had during their first life, such as food, water, clothing, livestock, etc.  Getting to the afterlife was an arduous journey which required more than just supplies, but a pass through the treacherous underworld. The Book of the Dead was used to assist in this process by offering magical spells that could be used as tools by the deceased to get through the underworld and to the afterlife.  

Todays lesson will offer insight to the world of the afterlife in Egypt, Greece, and China.  Students will learn about what was taken with the Egyptians to the afterlife, why the Greeks were terrified of the underworld, and the first emperor of China needed 8,000 soldiers in the afterlife. Get ready for an exciting journey to discover the answers.  

Art making activity:

Students will learn how to bind a book. They will create drawings that include what they would want to take with them to the afterlife. 

Additional readings:

GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND THE UNDERWORLD:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/grlg/hd_grlg.htm

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dbag/hd_dbag.htm

EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/30.3.31