Art General, Culture and Religion, Flight of Horace, illustration, People and Blogs, Uncategorized
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Ani y Catrina – Acrylic ink on papyrus (all rights reserved Mohammed Shamma)

I painted this piece for #Inktober and Dia de Los Muertos. I had originally wanted to call this the Book of the Dead meets the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) but that seemed like a mouthful.  And as I worked on it, I began to feel like the piece was more than just a mashup of the two traditions.

In this scene, Ani (a nobleman from Egypt in the 19th Dynasty – 1250 BCE) is escorting Catrina (see La Calavera Catrina) to the weighing of her heart.  The god Anubis presides over the scale that measures the weight of her heart to that of a feather.

The hieroglyphic text comes from Spell 30b of the Book of the Dead.  The most famous version of the Book of the Dead is The Papyrus of Ani (British Museum, London).  Here is the English translation:

O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my different forms! Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance, for you are my ka which was in my body, the protector who made my members hale. Go forth to the happy place whereto we speed, do not make my name stink to the Entourage who make men. Do not tell lies about me in the present of the god. It is indeed well that you should hear!
                  — Book of the Dead, spell 30B

Here is a partial Spanish translation (of the English translation) which I used in the painting:

Oh Osiris, el escriba Ani dice: “Mi corazón, corazón de mi madre. Mi corazón, el corazón de mi madre, corazón de mi existencia!. No puede incurrir en ninguna resistencia sobre mí en mi juicio.”

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Ani y Catrina workspace (for perspective)

 

Ani y Catrina

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Flight of Horace

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Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

My story begins when I stood upon that bridge and gave in to deception.
Desire for immortality outbid any veneration I had for the past and future.
A single leap of faith would rid me of my fleshy pain.
I would pass over that Golden Gate parting ways with sin and sorrow.
With open arms, I would greet eternity.
Yet my soul was displeased with me and had other plans.

On this page, Horace, the narrator, is taking the reader back to the moment when he chose to jump off the bridge. Horace’s soul (his ba) is shown as a bird hovering next to him.  See “ba” reference on this page for more information on the ancient Egyptian concept of the soul. The onlookers are based on the mourners painted on the walls of the Tomb of Ramose.

A Single Leap of Faith

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Flight of Horace

I’ve recently redesigned this page the give it a more Egyptian “Book of the Dead” look and feel and less like that of a comic book.  Some of these elements include the landscape format, text and page framing with bold black lines and text panels that have one side open onto the subject.

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Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

“Memory – it is the lifeblood of our fables and the progenitor of our conscience.  Was it born somewhere deep within the stars? Is it innate like the winged migration of birds or rhythmic like the fog covering the city at the day’s end? Where does memory go to die?”

Horace is narrating these words while seated in a typical scribe pose (as seen in the Tomb of Ti in Saqqara).  The stars on the left show the Orion constellation embedded into the commonly found star pattern on the ceilings of Egyptian tombs.  I drew the flying duck from the hunting scene on the walls of the Tomb of Nakht.  The fog clouds were based on various spiral patterns often scene in tombs of Tell el AmarnaTheban tombs and Saqqara

Memory is the Lifeblood of our Fables

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