Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Nesiamun's Book of the Dead

Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty 21
ca. 1070–945 B.C.
From Egypt; Said to be from Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Papyrus, ink
Papyrus: L. 119.5 × H. 24 cm (47 1/16 × 9 7/16 in.); Framed: L. 123.2 × H. 28.1 × D. 2 cm (48 1/2 × 11 1/16 × 13/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
Not on view
Said to have been discovered in a tomb on the west bank at Thebes, this funerary papyrus would have been an important element of the burial equipment of the owner, the priest Nesiamun. The deceased is shown in the vignette on the right, offering incense to a figure of the god Osiris, who is seated before table piled high with offerings of food and drink. The text on the papyrus, written in black ink with titles highlighted in red, includes several spells from the Book of the Dead (Chapters 23 to 28 and 162) that were meant to enable Nesiamun to speak, to know magic formulas, to maintain control over his memory and his heart (the center of emotions and thought), and to provide his head with warmth.
Purchased in Luxor, 1926.

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. 347 (New York 11).

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