Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Netherworld Papyrus of Gautsoshen

Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty 21
ca. 1000–945 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb MMA 60, Pit, Burial 4 (Gautsoshen), MMA excavations, 1923–24
Papyrus, ink
l. 119.5 cm (47 1/16 in); w. 24 cm (9 7/16 in) Frame: 123.2 cm (48 in); w. 27.9 cm (11 in); th. 2.5 cm (1 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1925
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126
This copy of the book of the Amduat, or "What is in the Underworld" was found rolled up and placed between the thighs of Gautsoshen's mummy. The papyrus, whose left part is missing, contains three scenes. On the right is the deceased adoring Osiris and the scorpion goddess Selket. The next scene shows Shu, the god of the atmosphere, holding the starstudded skies, which envelop the gods of the twelve hours of the night who are guarding the secret gates to the region of Ikheret. The middle register has a row of deities who will destroy the one who is not justified before Osiris. The scene on the left contains cobras as doorkeepers of the Underworld, the morning and evening barks of Re, and depictions and emblems of the patron goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nekhbet and Neith.

Although the presentations of the figures on the papyrus are formal, the draftsman's choice of colors and some of the freehand drawings are very appealing to the eye.
Museum excavations 1923–24. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1925.

Niwinski, Andrzej 1989. Studies on the illustrated Theban funerary papyri of the 11th and 10th centuries B.C., Orbis biblicus et orientalis, 86. Freibourg, Switzerland: Biblical Institute of the University of Freibourg Switzerland, p. 346 (New York 8).

Aston, David 2009. Burial Assemblages of Dynasty 21–25: Chronology – Typology – Developments. Contributions to the chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean, vol. 21, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie, 56. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, pp. 201, 315.

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