Maat was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.
The earliest surviving records indicating Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, was recorded during the Old Kingdom, the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the pyramid texts of Unas (c. 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE).
As a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. After the rise of Ra they were depicted together in the Solar Barque.
After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.
Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.