The people of ancient Egypt believed that upon death, a person’s soul split into several parts, and continued to live on in an afterlife. Three of the more well-known forms of the spirit were the ba, the akh, and the ka. The ba was the personality. It was shown as a bird with a human head- in particular, the head of the person to which it belonged. The akh was represented by a type of bird called a crested ibis. At the moment of death, the akh left the body and flew to the stars to spend eternity in the heavens. The entire process of mummification took 70 days to complete. Several embalmers conducted the task in the special embalming shop or per nefer. The chief embalmer was a priest known as the hery seshta. He wore a jackal mask to represent Anubis, the god of mummification. Assistants called wetyu bandaged the body and carried out other tasks of the embalming process. After being delivered to the per nefer, the first task that needed to be done was to remove the soft, moist body parts that would cause decay. One of the embalmers would use a knife to make an incision in the left side of the abdomen. Although this step was entirely necessary to remove the organs, they didn't like it because it was considered sinful to disrespect a corpse. The other embalmers present would curse and throw stones at the man who made the cut. They weren't really trying to hurt him, it was all just a symbolic part of the ceremony. Once thoroughly dried, the organs would be put into separate containers called canopic jars. The Egyptians believed that all body parts would be magically reunited in the afterlife and the body would become whole again, just like the god Osiris. According to Egyptian mythology, the god Osiris was murdered by his jealous brother Set and hacked into pieces. The goddess Isis reassembled the pieces and Osiris was magically restored, and went on to become the god of the afterlife. To ensure a mummy’s safety, an Egyptian embalmer could place it in one...
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