Book of the Dead inscribed for Djedhor


On display

Complete document about 392 cm in length and now preserved as five sheets with some pieces remaining loose. Discovered as a completely undisturbed folded roll in a cemetery excavated by the University of Liverpool in 1905. Forgotten about until 1974 when it was unrolled by Professor Walter Fairman. New conservation work carried out by Eve Menei in 2016 has allowed for the complete document to be placed on public display for the first time. The papyrus is inscribed for a man named Djedhor, the son of Tapes. Text is written in hieratic and hieroglyphic with carbon ink and red ochre. Vignettes are painted with carbon ink. The red (rubric) is used to highlight the start of different spells. Vignettes in black pigment are beside each spell and run across the top length. The papyrus was unrolled in the summer term of 1974 by Liverpool University’s Professor of Egyptology, Herbert Walter Fairman (1907-1982), who wrote "In spite of the desperately damaged state of the first 12 or 15 inches, the remainder was unrolled without great difficulty and proves to be a copy of the Saite Recension of the Book of the Dead about 15 foot in length. It has admirable vignettes and is not without interest." Djed-hor’s Book of the Dead was discovered with some other finds brought back to England in 1905 from a site called Hissayeh (Nag el-Hisaya) in Upper Egypt. In a fieldwork report to the museum, dated 5th March 1905, Professor John Garstang of Liverpool University records that “Few tombs of the Ptolemaic character proved to have escaped plunder and in one of them Mr Jones found attached to a mummy a hieroglyphic papyrus ...The papyrus is a nice roll in good condition. The text is well written and the illustrations in pen and ink apparently without colour. It seems to be The Book of the Dead but I have not dealt with it yet. Another was found two days ago, unfortunately flat, and difficult to preserve". The papyrus is probably from after the end of the Pharaonic Period, at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period, shortly after the invasion of Alexander the Great about 332 BC. It’s the same style as the Book of the Dead of Nesmin, Detroit Institute of Arts (no. 1988.10.13) and Brüssel, Musèes Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (no. E8388/E) published in Wilfried Seipel, ‘Ägypten Götter, Gräber und die Kunst. 4000 Jahre Jenseits-glaube’ (1989) p.182.