Egyptian Book of the Dead Lesson - Art History - KinderArt
EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
Slab stela of Prince Wep-em-nefret
Fourth Dynasty, reign of Khufu
Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Berkeley
Image scan: Mark Harden
Written by: Charlotte Broxon [Charlotte is a teacher at Stone-Robinson E.S. in Charlottesville, VA]
Students will use scroll shaped pieces of paper and colored pencils to create their own Book of the Dead.
Cognitive: Students will learn about the Book of the Dead and its
importance to Ancient Egyptian culture.
Affective: Students will identify with ancient Egyptians through learning
about their culture and religion.
Psychomotor: Students will use scroll shaped pieces of paper and colored
pencils to create their own Book of the Dead.
- The student will describe relationships between a culture and it's art.
- Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead provided instructions for a mythic
journey from this world to the afterlife.
Students will create their own Book of the Dead using colored
pencils and scroll shaped paper.
- 2 examples of illustrations from the Book of the Dead
- Colored pencil visual
- Papyrus visual
- Demonstration materials
- Example of project (if possible)
History: Students will learn about the Book of the Dead.
Studio: Students will create their own Book of the Dead.
Aesthetics: Student will make personal aesthetic choices.
Scribe: Person who was in charge of recording events and writing
documents in hieroglyphics.
Egyptian Book of the Dead: Written by scribes and illustrated by artists,
series of books was like a map to the Afterlife.
Afterlife: The Egyptians idea of Heaven\Paradise.
Papyrus: Paper made out of reeds in ancient Egypt.
Osiris: God of the Dead.
What You Need:
- colored pencils
- scroll shaped paper
What You Do:
Today what we're going to learn about Ancient Egyptian culture and then
we are going to write and illustrate a book. But first, who can tell me
what they know about the Ancient Egyptians already?
(Most likely "King Tut" will be mentioned.)
The ancient Egyptian didn't really fear death that much. Do you know why?
They believed in something called an afterlife, which is an equivalent to the modern day concept of Heaven.
They believed that after they passed away, they would go to this afterlife and live happily ever after. The
Egyptians believed that the afterlife was just like earth except perfect because it was ruled by Osiris.
Have you heard of Osiris? Osiris was the Egyptian God of the Dead.
But in order to get to the Afterlife, the person who had died had to do
something special. Have any ideas?
What the person had to do was find his own way to the afterlife. While
doing this, he had to do things to please certain gods he met along the way
and navigate sacred rivers. One of the most important things he had to do
was have his heart weighed against the feather of Matt (Truth) by Thoth,
the god of truth. If the feather and the person's heart were equal in
weight, the person could proceed to the next obstacle in his journey.
Basically, the person had to overcome a series of obstacles, like an
obstacle course, to make it to the Afterlife.
Here is where the Book of the Dead comes in.
What do you think the Book
of the Dead was?
The Book of the Dead was like a guidebook on how to get
to the Afterlife. But it wasn't really a book like we think of a book, it
was a really long scroll made out of papyrus.
What's papyrus? (Show
What's a scroll?
It was kind of like a map that showed the
person which way to go and what to say to the gods he encountered along
this obstacle course. Without this book the person might never make it to
the Afterlife. So, would you say that this book was important to the
Egyptians? And why?
The Egyptian Book of the Dead, (Show #1 Book of the Dead visual and point
out symmetry, color and balance. Then show #2 and do the same.)
Just like any book, the Book of the Dead had a beginning, middle and end.
The difference is that this book started after the person had died.
What we are going to do today is make our own Book of the Dead.
So what we have to do first is pick a main character.
I'm going to throw you a curve ball. You can pick any character you want,
anything at all, except a human. What characters do you think you might
pick? This character doesn't even have to be alive. It could be a broken
dish trying to battle kitchen appliances to get to super glue. Anything you
want. Do you think an example might help? (Show scroll example. Discuss
- Where are we going to start to story? (After the character has died.)
- What do you think this character will have to do in this book? (overcome obstacles to get to the
Our materials today are: Scroll shaped paper, colored pencils, and string.
The second thing we have to do, after picking our character, is to figure
out what kind of obstacles they will need to overcome. Then we need to
figure out how to divide the space, kind of like drawing a comic strip.
(Demonstrate this.) Then have the first frame showing your character dead
or broken or whatever. After that, you go ahead and illustrate the rest of
your character's journey to the afterlife. Remember the balance and the
colors that the Egyptians used when you do this. Then go ahead and add the
text. Then, after it's dry, you can roll it up and tie so it looks like a
- What kind of book are we making today?
- Where and when did this book originate?
- What purpose did it serve?
A Few Rules Are:
- Follow your classroom rules.
- Don't get too loud.
- Treat your art tools with respect.
(Repeat Retention assessment questions.)
Now, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about the characters you chose
and what they have to do to get to the Afterlife. (3 or 4 students will
share their ideas.)
- Intro: 25 min.
- Demo: 10 min.
- Studio: 35 min.
- Cleanup: 5 min.
- Closure: 10 min.
Book of the Dead
The Papyrus of Ani.
Translated by E.A. Wallis Budge
Book of the Dead.
Eyewitness Books' Ancient Egypt continues the tradition of excellent, accurate, and beautiful reference works for kids 9 to 12 years old. Ancient Egyptian civilization holds a special fascination for many, with its mummies, pyramids, and highly stylized artworks. Kids can explore a Pharaoh's tomb, see a mummy up close, and find out about Egyptian gods. Lots of archaeological relics show what life was like for the ancient Egyptians, from how they dressed to the games they played. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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