Limestone ostracon with part of Kemit: four vertical lines of text in cursive hieroglyphs. The top edge is original, but the bottom edges are chipped. The text is written in black between red ruled lines, and the metrical verses of the text are marked by horizontal red lines. The style of script and the layout of the text are characteristic of the composition entitled Kemit ('The Compendium'). The signs on this ostracon are rather clumsily written.
- Found/Acquired: Deir el-Medina (?)
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Deir el-Medina (Thebes))
- Height: 14.5 centimetres
- Width: 19 centimetres
- Thickness: 3 centimetres
Inscription Positionone side
Inscription TranslationYour state is like living a million times!
May Montu lord of Thebes act for you,
Even as this servant desires!
May Ptah South of his Wall sweeten your heart
with [life], very [much]!
Inscription CommentRemains of four vertical registers of black-painted hieratic text, now faded in places, separated by red lines.The extract comprises the opening greetings of the letter (reading right to left). From the 'Book of Kemit' III, 1-4.
This is an elaborate model letter with a narrative, probably composed in the early Middle Kingdom in Middle Egyptian, which was used as an educational text for training scribes.
equivalent to §§3-4 in G. Posener, 'Catalogue des ostraca hiératiques littéraires de Deir el Médineh' II, DFIFAO 18 (Cairo, 1951), pls. 1-21;
translation: E.F.Wente, 'Letters from Ancient Egypt' (Atlanta, GA, 1990), 15—16;
S. Birch, 'Inscriptions in the hieratic and demotic character from the collections of the British Museum' (London, 1868), pl. VII;
cf. also examples in A.M. Donadoni Roveri (ed.), 'La scuola nell'antico Egitto' (Turin, 1997), 67-75;
A. Grimm, "Kmjt-Texte", in D. Kessler/R. Schulz, 'Gedenkschrift fur Winfried Bata' (Frankfurt and Main, 1995).
fair (edges chipped)
1 September 1998
Investigate and consolidate surface. Clean.
Front surface is blistering and spalling -caused by salts crystallising under surface. Surface has been treated. Dirty."5640" painted in black on front.
Cleaned by rolling swab dampened with deionised water. Reattached surface with Primal AC33 (acrylic) after wetting with White Spirit (composition variable - petroleum distillate). Partially removed "5640" with Nitromors water soluble (methylene chloride,sodium hydroxide,cellulose) - obliterated remainder with Cryla colours (acrylic). "5640" painted on back.
- Named in inscription: Thebes
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Thebes (Upper Egypt - archaic))
- Title: Book of Kemit III
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
- BS.5640 (Birch Slip Number)
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Object reference number: YCA1291
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