"Amduat" Papyrus of Henettawy, daughter of Isetemkheb
Third Intermediate Period
ca. 990–970 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb MMA 60, Chamber B, Burial of Henettawy C (4), MMA excavations, 1923–24
L. 139 cm (54 3/4 in); w. 23.5 cm (9 1/4 in); d. rolled 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in)
Rogers Fund, 1925
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126
This papyrus is part of the funerary equipment belonging to a wealthy woman named Henettawy, daughter of Isetemkhab, who was buried in a family tomb at Deir el-Bahri. Found rolled into a tight scroll and placed between the legs of Henettawy's mummy, it includes part of a collection of religious texts known as the Book of the Amduat, which were designed to aid the deceased in overcoming the dangers of the Duat (the Netherworld). Appearing originally in the royal tombs of the New Kingdom, these annotated illustrations represent the twelve individual hours of the night, during which the deceased would travel with the sun god, Re, through the Duat. In the deepest hour, Re would join with Osiris, king of the dead, so that he could be reborn in the morning. The illustration here is of the Tenth Hour of the night, during which the denizens of the Duat began to prepare for the sunrise. The scribe may originally have intended to include one or more additional hours in the blank space to the left.
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. 345 (New York 5); cf. pp. 174-180 for Type A.II.1a.