The Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Ani)
Facsimile edition on natural papyrus
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BC) to around 50 BC. “Book” is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of ritual spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat, or underworld, into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.
The Book of the Dead was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which were painted onto objects, not papyrus. Some of the spells included were drawn from these older works and date to the 3rd millennium BC. Other spells were composed later in Egyptian history, dating to the Third Intermediate Period (11th to 7th centuries BC). A number of the spells which made up the Book continued to be inscribed on tomb walls and sarcophagi from which they have been originated. The Book of the Dead was placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased.
There was no single or canonical Book of the Dead. The surviving papyri scrolls contain a varying selection of religious texts and vary considerably in their illustration. Some people seem to have commissioned their own copies of the Book of the Dead, perhaps choosing the spells they thought most vital in their own progression to the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was most commonly written in hieroglyphic or hieratic script on a papyrus scroll, and often illustrated with vignettes depicting the deceased and their journey into the afterlife.
The famous Spell 125, the ‘Weighing of the Heart’, is first known from the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, c.1475 BC. From this period onward the Book of the Dead was typically written on a papyrus scroll, and the text illustrated with vignettes. During the 19th dynasty in particular, the vignettes tended to be lavish, sometimes at the expense of the surrounding text.
Papyrus of Ani
The Papyrus of Ani, compiled for the Theban scribe Ani, is a papyrus manuscript with cursive hieroglyphs and colour illustrations created c. 1250 BC, in the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt.
42 Negative Confessions from the Papyrus of Ani.
“I have not committed sin.
I have not committed robbery with violence.
I have not stolen.
I have not slain men and women.
I have not stolen grain.
I have not purloined offerings.
I have not stolen the property of the gods.I have not uttered lies.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered curses.
I have not committed adultery.
I have made none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart [i.e., I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
I have not attacked any man.
I am not a man of deceit.
I have not stolen cultivated land.
I have not been an eavesdropper.
I have slandered [no man].
I have not been angry without just cause.
I have not debauched the wife of any man.
I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god).
I have not polluted myself.
I have terrorized none.
I have not transgressed [the Law].
I have not been wroth.
I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
I have not blasphemed.
I am not a man of violence.
I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
I have not pried into matters.
I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
I have not acted with evil rage.
I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead.
I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.”
For the first time, CM EDITORES presents a facsimile edition of The Book of the Dead, on authentic natural papyrus along with a luxurious study book describing each one of the 37 illustrated vignettes from the British Museum in London.
Origin: Tomb of Ani, Thebes, Egypt.
Date: Year 1250 BC
Technique: Hand painted
Dimensions: 37 sections of 60 x 40 cm.
Call Number: EA 10470. The British Museum