Funerary Papyrus of Khay: a part of the funerary papyrus of Khay, 'Chief Keeper of the Writings of the Lord of the Two Lands'. This section includes a treatise in Middle Egyptian now known as 'The King as Sun-priest'. As is usual for funerary papyri of this period, the text is written retrograde in cursive hieroglyphs, between borders, with painted vignettes. On this section the text is flanked by two fragmentary vignettes. The one on the left shows the deceased before an offering table, while the one on the right must originally have shown the object of his veneration. The remains of a sandy desert landscape suggest that the vignette showed sunrise, like vignettes to the solar hymns of the Book of the Dead.
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Height: 45.8 centimetres (frame)
- Length: 66.2 centimetres (frame)
- Height: 31.1 millimetres (papyrus)
- Width: 30.6 centimetres (papyrus)
Inscription Scriptcursive Hieroglyphic
Inscription Positionll. 6-8
Inscription TranslationThe Osiris Khay true-of-voice is in the
land of the living for eternity and all
time; [for] judging men, [for making the
gods content], [for] creating Truth, for
destroying evil. The Osiris Khay gives
offerings to the gods, and invocation
offerings [to the blessed spirits].
Earlier copies of this esoteric royal composition are from temples, but it was later taken over, as here, for private use. As a royal archivist, Khay would have had access to archival copies of the text. The original treatise is a description of the king's role in the solar cult; here it is adapted to form a preface for Khay's hymn to Amun-Re as sun-god, and the start of the original text is heavily truncated. The royal version of this text in the temple of Luxor is accompanied by a scene of the king adoring the solar bark.
A.W. Shorter, 'Catalogue of Egyptian Religious Papyri in the British Museum: Copies of the Book Pr(t)-m-hrw' I (London, 1938), 3;
J. Assmann, Der König als Sonnenpriester: ein kosmographiseher Begleittext zur kultischen Sotmeuhymnik in thebauisdien Tempeln und Gräbern, in ‘Abhandlungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Kairo’ 7 (Glückstadt, Hamburg and New York, 1970);
I. Munro, 'Untersuchungen zu den Totenbuch-Papyri der 18. Dynastie' (London and New York, 1988), 304 no. 44;
J. Assmann, 'Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom: Re, Amun and the Crisis of Polytheism' (London, 1995), 1-26.
2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt
[Theme: Born of the Gods]
Papyrus Survey: Condition Details: Papyrus: frayed, fragmentary, misalignment Black ink Red ink (faint) Displayed in Room 61 from 2001 until 2007 Mount Details: Sandwich: glass Edges insert: microchamber paper Binding: self adhesive tape Object Priority: A Mount Priority: A Overall Condition: B Curatorial condition comment: incomplete/fragmentary
17 December 2001
Examine papyrus for salt encrustations (remove if possible). Clean or trim unsightly backing paper.
Mounted between glass and board. The papyrus is backed on brown paper which is very blackened on the right side. The papyrus itself is also dirty and misaligned with many twisted fibres. It has a white deposits on the surface some of which appear salt-like and others with the appearance of offset pigment, but which may be calcite deposits from the archaeological context.
Removed from mount and examined under Mantis microscope (x10). Under magnification the white deposits appear to be chalk. There are also deposits of dirt and sand probably from the archaeological context. There are many turnovers and areas which are misaligned. There are dark areas where the material is obviously weak and degraded, these areas fluoresce under ultra violet light. The discolouration and weakness is probably due to the papyrus having been affected by dampness. The excess brown paper backing was trimmed away prior to facing up. Faced with strips of Spider tissue using Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) (10%) applied by brush. Backing removed with tweezers after applying damp blotters to verso under weighted glass. During backing removal many turnovers were laid back and any small fragments found under the old backing on the verso were replaced in situ. After old backing was removed it was possible to realign some areas by lifting the papyrus away from the facing and straightening it out. While still damp the papyrus was lined with Usomino Hakusen paper 1051 [pre-toned with Aquarell watercolours] and dilute Abra starch (wheat starch) paste. The papyrus was dried between blotters. Removed facing with tweezers after applying acetone soaked blotters to whole under glass. To remove any residual facing adhesive from papyrus surface repeated this process but with a dry blotter on top also to pull out the Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer). Examined papyrus surface and laid back any recto turnovers and realigned tangled fibres where possible if obscuring text. Since realignment on the verso and recto some small areas of previously uncovered text have been revealed, these were marked on the tracing. Damp thin blotter paper strips or damp cotton buds were used to try and remove some of the chalky white hazy deposit which slightly obscures the text on the bottom of the right of the papyrus, but this was unsuccessful. The whole papyrus was sprayed lightly and pressed. The lining was trimmed. Mounted between glass with strips of MicroChamber paper (130 gsm neutral range pH paper) attached to glass edges with Abra starch (wheat starch).
- Inscription from: Book of the Dead
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA65947
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