A Journey Through The Underworld

This papyrus belonged to an Egyptian noblewoman named Tanetshedkhons, who was a chantress in the Temple of Amun at Karnak during the Twenty-first Dynasty (ca. 1069-945 BC). The papyrus was undoubtedly made for her tomb, probably by the most skilled scribes in the temple.

This scroll contains thirty sections of two funerary books: the Amduat, or Book of that which is in the Underworld, and the Litany of Re. Like the better-known Book of the Dead, these texts were guidebooks, intended to help Tanetshedkhons journey past all of the pitfalls that would face her after death in the company of the sun god. Both the Amduat and Litany follow the voyage of the sun through the darkness of night to the dawn, equating the deceased with the sun god, Re, and the god of the Underworld, Osiris, both of whom experience rebirth, the ultimate goal of every individual.

The papyrus is illustrated with depictions of the demons and divine beings that Tanetshedkhons could expect to encounter in her transition to the afterlife. Demons and geniis with the same iconography can have different names, while in other cases, the same name might be given to geniis of different appearance, a potentially confusing predicament for the deceased.

Select any image on the papyrus to learn more!