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Inventory number

Cat.2031/001

  • Document
  • Writing Recto
  • Writing Verso

General description

The so-called "Satiric-Erotic Papyrus"

Cat. 2031 = CGT 55001 is a fragmentary papyrus with peculiar content that belonged to the villagers of the ancient Egyptian town of Deir el-Medina. The papyrus juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated topics, although both comical and satirical in character. The manuscript reads from right to left. The right side of the papyrus carries a topsy-turvy representation of a world where animals act like humans. Some animals wear clothes, other play musical instruments, and others still fight with weapons like bows and arrows. The roles of predator and prey are reversed: mice and birds have the upper hand against cats, and gazelles take lions prisoner with long sticks and ropes. On the left-hand side we have the erotic part, where young women, most probably all musicians, are having intercourse in a variety of agile positions with men whose absurdly large phalluses emerge from under their kilts. In contrast to the beautifully depicted women, most of the men  are shown as balding, and some with large bellies.


It is important to underline that this papyrus is not pornographic in nature, but rather comical and satirical. In ancient Egypt, caricatures involving animals and sexually explicit subjects were always considered worthy of a good laugh. In this regard, the mind of the ancient Egyptian who made this papyrus was not that far removed from our own modern mind.


Note: Not on display, currently at temporary exhibition in Cuneo (Spazio Innov@zione, Via Roma 17)! For more information see here.

Epoch

New Kingdom (1539-1077 BC)

Dynasty

Dynasty 20 (1190-1077 BC)

Pharaoh

---

Provenance

Thebes/Deir el-Medina (?)

Acquisition: Drovetti, Bernardino

Acquisition Date: 1824

Joining object(s) (log into TPOP)

Image(s)

Image

  • Text 1

Contributor

Juan José Archidona Ramírez (JJAR)

Script

hieratic

Text type

Satirical, Erotic

Keywords

animals, instruments, women, workmen

Epoch

New Kingdom (1539-1077 BC)

Dynasty

Dynasty 20 (1190-1077 BC)

Pharaoh

---

Drawing

Yes

Drawing description

On the left-hand side we have the erotic part, where young women, most probably all songstresses, are having intercourse in a variety of agile poses with men whose absurdly large phalluses emerge from under their kilts. In contrast to the beautifully depicted women, most of the men are shown as balding, some with large bellies and one dwarf-like person, The sexual acts are accompanied by texts written in hieratic which are a dialogue between the men and the women. The right side of the papyrus shows a topsy-turvy representation of a world where animals act like humans. Some animals wear clothes, are fighting with weapons like a bow and arrow, or make music. The roles of predator and prey are reversed, mice and birds have the upper hand against cats, and gazelles are taking lions prisoner with long sticks and ropes. A donkey has the attire worn normally by a person of nobility. The last scene to the right depicts animals playing several musical instruments. A monkey is blowing on a double flute, a crocodile plays a string instrument, a lion is singing and playing on a lyre, and a donkey plays the harp.

Bibliographical reference

Brawanski/Fischer-Elfert, SAK 41, pp. 67-97 (OEB 188677)

Omlin, Der Papyrus 55001 (OEB 16729)

Image

  • Text 1

Script

hieratic

Epoch

---

Dynasty

---

Pharaoh

---

Drawing

No

Drawing description

---

Museo Egizio