Anonymous papyrus – Cortona (1)

Late 21st Dynasty
Provenance: unkown

Hieroglyphic funerary papyrus without indication of the owner’s name, it contains the text and the figurative representation of the twelfth hour of the night, passed by the Sun during its journey in the underworld, the most important hour of all, the most frequently reproduced on papyri, extracted from the Book of What Exists in the Underworld.

The figurative representation dominates almost the entire papyrus, divided into three sections, of which the upper and lower are but an ornamental complement to the one in the centre, the main one. The solar boat emerges from the body of the river on which it has sailed in the previous hours and is depicted as it must pass through the body of a large snake, drawn in the middle, entering through its tail and exiting through its mouth. Nine devotees of the Sun pull the boat by means of the elongated form of the body of the Mehen snake (it looks like a rope) whose tail is attached to the front of the boat, while the head then comes down in front of the hands of the last of the pullers. In the boat, the oars of which lie at rest on the stern, Rè’ is depicted in the form of Chnum, the sun of the night, goat-headed, standing m standing, holding with his right hand, the sign of life, with his left, a sceptre in the form of a serpent, and having behind him the goddess of enchantments, Isis, and in front, a divinity with a human head, and another, without a head, represented by the emblem of Truth and holding with his left hand the flagellum. Above the prow is fixed a large solar disc with a red-coloured centre.

In front of the procession is the image of the scarab, symbol of the imminent resurrection of the soul of the deceased person, whose mummy is then abandoned to one side on a rise of ground. To welcome the scarab, symbol of the reborn soul, rises from the ground, where it has hidden the rest of the body, the head of the god Shu,’ with his arms outstretched in the act of embracing it. It depicts the morning: the hours of night are over, and the soul of the departed person also rises with the Sun.

Above the scene of the solar journey, there are images of four goddesses, standing, carrying serpents with their heads raised on their shoulders; then Anubis, carrying an oar in his right hand, and in front of him, seven other individuals, with their hands raised in an act of homage. The same worshippers, nine in number, followed by four images of women, with their arms stretched out at their sides, are depicted below.

Note: Above text translated from Botti’s publicaton

Anonymous Amduat papyrus

Length 63.5 cm, height 22.5 cm
BA 3194, Cortona (1), Type BA.II.2a Niwinski
See Botti, Giuseppe – Le antichita egiziane del museo dell’accademia di Cortona (1955), pg. 48-49
MAEC, Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona
Photo Wiki Commons and panorama view VB 2023