Papyrus from the Book of the Dead of Ankhwahibre

From Egypt
Late Period, around 500 BC

Showing the main funerary amulets

In the Late Period (661-332 BC), elaborate coffins and large numbers of amulets took over the functions of the decorated tomb and its grave goods. The Book of the Dead included spells which would activate these amulets, including drawings of them in case they were damaged or stolen.

Spells 155 to 160 of the Book of the Dead give the incantations (magical spells) to be said over the most important amulets, all of which were placed at the neck of the mummy for protection. Each spell clearly indicates the material of which the amulet should be made, the type of cord on which it should be suspended, and any associated actions which should be performed. The colour and other properties of the materials symbolized concepts such as endurance, rebirth and regeneration.

The papyrus column gave the protection of Thoth to keep the body whole. Its green colour indicated regeneration. The knotted cloth amulet identified the owner with Isis in her form of 'Mistress of Magic'. It also protected the body, activated by moistening it with juice from a specific fruit. The falcon-headed collar and the vulture identified the deceased with Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. The djed pillar identified the wearer with Osiris.

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More information


G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)


Length: 63.000 cm (frame)
Width: 32.000 cm (frame)

Museum number

EA 10558/27



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