Inscribed mummy bandage of Djedher

From Saqqara, Egypt
Late Period, 4th century BC or later

Spells from the Book of the Dead

The group of spells known as the Book of the Dead was intended to act as assistance for the deceased on his or her passage to the Afterlife. During the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), when it first appeared, it was usually written on papyrus. At first it was placed in the coffin, but later concealed within the plinths of figures of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris.
From the fourth century BC the spells were written on strips of linen, so that they could magically protect the body of the deceased. These linen bandages were used as the outer wrappings of the mummy. They were often extremely long, but were cut up by their nineteenth-century discoverers and sold to European tourists.

The spells of the Book of the Dead were written on the bandages in black pigment, in horizontal lines of hieratic script reading from right to left. In this example, the deceased is named as Djedher, son of Sekhmetnefret. A blank column marks the division between the spells, which were sometimes illustrated with vignettes placed above the text.

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Length: 40.500 cm
Width: 7.300 cm

Museum number

EA 6644



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