Book of the Dead of Neferini (hieratic)

Artist unknownPtolemaic period, 4th–1st century BCE

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Books of the Dead exist since the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1500 BCE). In the full edition more than 200 chapters have been preserved, but frequently habe been confined to the main statements. The Book of the Dead has been given to the dead in the form of a papyrus roll or individual chapters written on linen cloths were wrapped in the mummy. The claims should help the deceased, to find his way into the underworld and to behave correctly against its inhabitants, gods and demons, so that he could live as a 'transfigured' among them.
Not a single Book of the Dead is missing chapter 125 containing the so-called 'Negative Confession'. In this, the deceased justifies before the 42 judging deities by affirming to having refrained from all sins. The scene shows the judgment of the dead: the deceased is carried to the scale on which the heart (drawn as a pot) is counterbalanced to the Goddess Maat, presented as a squatting woman with a feather on her head. If the deceased lived according to Maat, the world order, Osiris, the mummiform underworld god, will welcome her as justified in the Hereafter. If she does not pass the examination, the great Eater, a monster consisting of crocodile head, lion front and hippopotamus rump, will eat up the heart definitively. Since for the Egyptians each presentation reflects the reality, it is always a positive outcome of the jugdement which was shown, so that, with the help of this papyrus, the deceased could safely enter into the underworld and reach eternal life.


  • Title: Book of the Dead of Neferini (hieratic)
  • Creator: Artist unknown
  • Date Created: Ptolemaic period, 4th–1st century BCE
  • Provenance: Von der „Berliner Verwaltungsgesellschaft" gekauft, ehedem im Besitz des Dr. med. Nagelschmidt. (II 295/1915). Erwerbung 6 von 1915.
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Medium: Papyrus, inscribed and with depictions one-sided (?)
  • Inv. no.: P 10477
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-015418
  • External Link: Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Image by Google || Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Verena Lepper
  • Collection: Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung | Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps