Book of the Dead of the Priest of Horus, Imhotep (Imuthes)

Early Ptolemaic Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134

This papyrus is inscribed for a priest of the god Horus named Imhotep. His coffin was found in 1913 at the cemetery of Meir, and this papyrus, along with a second (35.9.21a–o), most likely comes from his burial.

Imhotep's Book of Coming forth by Day, commonly known as a Book of the Dead, was designed to help Imhotep make a successful transition from death to eternal life, and to ensure his safety and well-being in the realm of the dead. Written in a cursive script known as hieratic and read from right to left, it is divided into 182 columns, each containing one or more spells, incantations, or prayers. A continuous frieze of vignettes along the top, as well as larger drawings filling the height of the papyrus, illustrate or substitute for individual spells. Neither texts nor images follow a narrative sequence, but instead represent a compilation of spells grouped, to some extent, by theme.

Links to two blogs about this papyrus:

Scrolling Through Imhotep's Book of the Dead

A New Life for the Book of the Dead

Links to two short videos: - CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Imhotep's Book of the Dead

The Weighing of the Heart

Book of the Dead of the Priest of Horus, Imhotep (Imuthes), Papyrus, ink

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