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Permanent Collection: Ancient Egyptian Art:
Fragment of a Book of the Dead, belonging to Paheby, son of Ankhpakhered and Takhebyt

Fragment of a Book of the Dead, belonging to Paheby, son of Ankhpakhered and Takhebyt

Ptolemaic Period, Second-First Centuries B.C. Funded by John A. Manget, 1921.90.1a

The Book of the Dead is a funerary text that emerged in the New Kingdom as a descendant of the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts of the Old and Middle Kingdoms, respectively. Its function was to secure a successful passage into the afterlife for the deceased through the spells and images it contained. This fragment was cut from a larger roll and consists of sections of chapters 1 and 72 of the Book of the Dead. The hieroglyphic text is drawn in black ink within columns reading from right to left.

Above the text, part of a painted scene, or vignette, depicts the funeral procession to the tomb. At the left , Anubis, the jackal god of embalming, reclines atop a shrine. In the center, a priest drags the canopic chest containing the viscera of the deceased. A line of mourning women stand on the right. Two of them, facing one another, display the characteristic gesture of mourning, with raised arms and backward-facing palms, as though beating the forehead or casting dust over the body. Between the two women stands a small male figure, possibly Paheby, the owner of the papyrus. If the fragmentary scene were complete, Paheby's sarcophagus would be visible at the head of the procession.

Collections & Exhibitions: | Ancient Near Eastern Art | Art of the Ancient Americas | Asian Art | Greek and Roman Art | Sub-Saharan African Art | Works of Art on Paper

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