This papyrus belonged to the Mistress of the House and Chantress of Amun, Tanetshedkhons, a Theban noblewoman of the Twenty-first Dynasty. The scroll is inscribed with portions of two funerary texts known as the "Litany of Re" and the "Amduat," or "Book of that which is in the Underworld." The "Amduat", like the "Book of the Dead," is one of several guidebooks designed to aid the deceased in their perilous journey through the Underworld. These guidebooks provided descriptions of the Underworld, accompanied by illustrations, to familiarize the deceased with the challenges to be faces and to lessen their apprehension. In the "Litany of Re," the deceased is equated with the sun god, who was reborn each morning, in the hope of securing the same fate.

Like many other funerary texts, the "Amduat" and "Litany" were originally restricted to the use of the king, though the elite had adopted them by the Twenty-first Dynasty. In its fullest form, the "Amduat" consists of twelve sections, corresponding to the hours of the night when the sun god travels through the Underworld in his boat. Certain sections, such as these, depict the beings, both good and evil, that inhabit the Underworld and may help - or hinder - the deceased. This papyrus would have been placed in the tomb, near Tanetshedkhons for easy access. In some cases, kings would inscribe an abbreviated version at the foot of their coffins as a quick reference.

The Lady Tanetshedkhons was one of the higher-ranking members of Theban society, and a relation of the powerful Amun priests that claimed royal authority during the Twenty-first Dynasty. Several other items from her burial equipment are known, including funerary figurines and papyri.


  • Title: Amduat of Tanetshedkhons
  • Location: Africa, Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: 8 1/4" x 4' 1 1/2" (21 x 125.7 cm)
  • Provenance: Ex coll. John George Dodson (1825-1897), 1st Lord Monk Bretton of Conybro and Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, England. Thence by descent. Purchased by MCCM from Sotheby's New York, December 9, 2004.
  • Subject Keywords: papyrus manuscript
  • Rights: © Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White
  • External Link: https://collections.carlos.emory.edu/objects/12698/
  • Medium: Papyrus, pigment
  • Art Movement: Egyptian
  • Period/Style: Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21
  • Dates: 1076-944 BC
  • Classification: Ancient Egyptian Art

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