The gorgeous art of ancient Egypt: one of only four surviving specimens of the *Book of the Dead*

Papyrus Ani

Egypt — Around 1300 B. C.

Papyrus Ani

Papyrus Ani

Egypt — Around 1300 B. C.

  1. This fully preserved *Book of the Dead* is dated to 1240 B.C. and is one of only four surviving specimens today

  2. It contains ca. 200 formulas and instructions to guide the dead through the afterlife and even how to become divine

  3. The papyri are almost entirely adorned with gorgeous Egyptian painting

 El Libro de los muertos (Papiro de Ani)

Papyrus Ani

Presentation of Ani before Osiris

This scene shows Ani kneeling before Osiris, god of the afterlife and judge of the dead, whom is identifiable by his characteristic crook and flail as well as his distinctive “atef” crown. His sisters Isis and Nephthys stand behind Osiris with their hands on his shoulders, and in front of his throne there is a lotus on which stand the four sons of Horus. The throne of Osiris sits in a splendid baldachin decorated with various hieroglyphics and patterns. Ani has his hand raised in explanation.

Papyrus Ani

Alternative Titles:
  • Papyrus of Ani
  • El Libro de los muertos
  • Book of the Death
  • Papiro de Ani
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Papyrus Ani is a significant and informative text of ancient Egyptian literature. The fully preserved book of the dead was found in Thebes and is dated to 1240 B.C. There are only four surviving books of the dead today, each of which is absolutely unique and represents an important source for the documentation of Egyptian mythology. The content of the text is elucidated across 24 meters by about 190 magic formulas, religious texts, and particularly large colored drawings. For the Egyptians, death was an important part of life. Therefore, they gave the deceased books of the dead for the journey whose sayings offered protection from demons inter alia.

Papyrus Ani

An important text of ancient Egyptian literature was discovered in Thebes with the 24 meter long Papyrus Ani. Also known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the text is dated to 1,240 years before Christ and survives today in four specimens, each of which is unique. With its great selection of ca. 200 magical formulas and religious instructions, the fully preserved text is additionally a special document of Egyptian mythology that not only fascinates researchers today. Large colored drawings complement the views on death and the life thereafter with a particularly strong symbolic language.

Great Illustrations and Uniform Design

The book of the dead boasts a uniform design across its entire length, characterized by red and yellow stripes on the upper and lower margins. The text found in between is structured by red-marked titles of the individual chapters, rubrics, and various keywords. Based upon the various fonts, researchers have concluded that three to four scribes worked on the Papyrus Ani. Since the illustrations are much more uniform in their form of presentation, there were probably only one or two artists contributing to the paintings. The stiff deportment of the figures depicted in bas-relief are typical for ancient Egyptian art. Invariably, the head is depicted from the side with one eye, the shoulders and chest from the front, and the hip and leg from the side once again. This stylistic element called aspective endeavored to capture people as completely as possible.

Egyptian Mythology and Death

Magic spells and incantations, like those found in the book of the dead, already existed during the 5th/6th dynasty ca. 2500 B.C. Many of them were intended to help the dead to become divine and to make it possible to lead a life in the next world where they were immortal. In order to reach this goal and to be protected from demons on the way there, the Egyptians gave the deceased sayings as protection and help during the journey. Moreover, the text chronicles 43 various gods in the court of the dead altogether. Each has their own name and was responsible for a particular crime.

Ani as a Historical Figure

Ani was probably a high-ranking official of the temple administration since the book of the dead can be considered typical for a Theban nobleman of his period. Multiple places in the text where his name was inserted by a later hand indicate that the text was not originally composed for Ani. Such addenda are not, however, found in the first part, which was probably consequently finished expressly for him.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Papyrus of Ani
El Libro de los muertos
Book of the Death
Papiro de Ani
Size / Format
37 segments / 38.0 x 70.0 cm
Origin
Egypt
Date
Around 1300 B. C.
 El Libro de los muertos (Papiro de Ani)

Papyrus Ani

Thoth's Declaration to the Ennead

This 3,200-year-old miniature is exemplary of both the attitude towards death held by ancient Egyptians and of the aesthetic of Egyptian papyri. Toth, an Egyptian deity associated with judging the dead, weighs the heart of the scribe Ani against a feather. He declares his findings to the Ennead, a group of nine deities including Atum, Osiris, Isis, and Seth.

This composition of red, green, and white is the work of one or possibly two artists. The figures are depicted with a stiff deportment in the strict bas-relief typical of Egyptian art, the so-called “aspective” that captures people as completely as possible. Heads are depicted in profile with one eye showing, chests and shoulders point toward the beholder, with the hip and leg depicted from the side.

3 available facsimile edition(s) of „Papyrus Ani“

El Libro de los muertos (Papiro de Ani)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Papyrus Ani – Nr. 10.470 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
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El Libro de los muertos (Papiro de Ani)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2018
Limited Edition
999 copies
Commentary
1 volume by Josè R. Pérez-Accino
Language: Spanish
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€€ (over 10,000€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Der Papyrus Ani - Special Edition
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Der Papyrus Ani - Special Edition

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1978
Binding
Book case which can be used as a desk
Commentary
1 volume by E. Dondelinger
Language: German
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Der Papyrus Ani - Standard Edition
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Der Papyrus Ani - Standard Edition

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1978
Binding
In a portfolio
Commentary
1 volume by E. Dondelinger
Language: German
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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