Fragment from the Book of the Dead

A fragment from the bandages of a mummy showing inscriptions and figures which come from the Book of the Dead. We find four registers with hieratic script and a total of six figures, among which we find representations of the deceased as well as the gods who must accompany the person in the voyage to the Other World. The scene belongs, most probably, to the scene 144 of the book, in the chapter entitled “The Book of the Six Gates”. This episode features a series of guardians to whom the deceased must give his or her name so as to be able to pass through gate after gate and not get caught up at any one of them.

In the inscription we can make out the name of the owner, Kha-hep, and the name of his mother, who is Renpet-nefret. This fragment came from a much longer roll of bandage which is conserved in University College in London. n. 32399 and n. 32414, as well as in Vienna in the National Library, Aeg. 8341.

The bandages on mummies were generally decorated with spells and, at times, with sketches from the Book of the Dead, so as to offer the wished-for magical protection to the deceased. The practice of placing these inscribed bandages directly on the corpse was essential to ensure access to the Other World.

The Book of the Dead is the modern name for a funerary text of Ancient Egypt which was used from the beginnings of the New Kingdom. The original Egyptian name is conventionally translated by Egyptologists as the “Book of the Break of Day”. The text consisted of a series of magic spells destined to help the deceased get successfully past the judgement of Osiris, to assist them in their voyage through the Duat, the Underworld, and travel to Aaru, in the other life.

This small strip of material has been made from material of a high quality and belongs to a group of well-known objects known as Inscribed Mummy Bandages. The original beige colour has become discoloured to a darker brown. The two extremes ends of the piece of bandage are cut irregularly. The images and the inscription have been made in black ink, made from soot mixed with gelatine, glue and beeswax.

Most examples of the Book of the Dead from the Late and Greco-Roman Periods have been written on papyrus, but from the 5th Century BC onwards, the formulas of this funerary text were also inscribed on mummy bandages, a practice that began in the city of Memphis.


- Le Livre des Morts des anciens Egyptien. Traducción de Paul Barguet. Littérature ancienne du Proche-Orient - L.A.P.O. 1967. - Budge, Wallis. El Libro de los Muertos. Papiro de Ani. Sirio. 2007.
- KEMP, Barry J. Como leer el Libro de los Muertos. Crítica. 2007.

Related works of art

sarcófago sarcofage lid tapa cananita canaan israel j bagot arqueologia
roman marble strigilated sarcophagi j bagot arqueologia
sarcófago sarcofage lid tapa cananita canaan israel j bagot arqueologia

Consell de Cent, 278
08007 Barcelona SPAIN
(+34) 93 140 53 26

Monday - Saturday
10h to 14h
16:30h to 20:00h

Uso de cookies

Este sitio web utiliza cookies para que usted tenga la mejor experiencia de usuario. Si continúa navegando está dando su consentimiento para la aceptación de las mencionadas cookies y la aceptación de nuestra política de cookies, pinche el enlace para mayor información.plugin cookies

Aviso de cookies