Fields of Peace

Oil on canvas. 122 x 122cm. 1992

After the heart is weighed and judged to be pure, the deceased is accepted into the kingdom of Osiris. Thoth escorts him to the Fields of Peace, where, in the first section, the Field of Offerings, he presents incense to the Ennead, the Great Company of nine gods. These gods are here represented by the plural hieroglyphic form, using three gods to indicate more than two. He then paddles his boat to the cities, making offerings of food, clothing, etc., and finally an offering of flowers and wine to a mummiform figure, possibly an ancestor. There are three lakes of purification in which to bathe.

The second panel, the Field of Reeds, shows the deceased performing tasks as would have been done on earth, by himself or by his servants, which include ploughing, sowing wheat or barley, reaping and threshing the grain.

In the third panel, the Homestead, he enjoys the fruits of his labour or the offerings made to him by his children. He sits under the cool shade of a sycamore tree with his wife, while his daughter pours a cup of wine for him. He then stands in adoration of the Bennu bird, the soul of Ra. Next he is seated holding a sceptre which indicates his authority over the other spirits of the underworld.

The fourth panel is the Abode of the Gods. The bowl shaped island is the birthplace of the gods. The first boat, at the end of the canal, belongs to Osiris / Wennefer, who is also known as the god at the top of the staircase. The deceased who has become an Osiris may sail with the god Osiris, on the waters around the Fields of Peace, or he may sail across the sky in the boat of Ra, the sun god. This is the second boat, which contains a seat and has the Eye of Ra painted on the prow.

The hieroglyphs in the first panel, next to Thoth, say;

wn m Htp m sxt Htp

Being in Peace in the Field of Peace.

The word above the gods is the (psD.t ) "Ennead", and the circles with the crosses in them above the boat are the sign for (niw.w.t) "cities". (One circle is singular for city, three is plural.)

In the fourth panel, in the bowl shaped piece of land, is the word (msxn) "birthplace". The hieroglyphs next to the canal say: (bHdi-Dsr) "Sacred Stairs" which is the name of the boat, and (nTr imy=f wn-nfr) "the god who is in it - Wennefer". (Wennefer is another name for Osiris.)

Several sources were used to compose this painting, including the papyri of Ani, Nebseni and Anhai, illustrations of which are found in 'The Book of the Dead,' by E. A. Wallis Budge. Published by Routlege and Kegan Paul. 1977