Inventory number


  • Document
  • Writing Recto

General description

Amduat papyrus of Imenkhau

Turin papyrus Cat. 1789 presents scenes from the Amduat's Twelfth Hour and the Books of the Earth. On the manuscript’s right-hand side the deceased’s name and title are identified in the so-called etiquette.

The treatise’s structure consists of a single horizontal register. From left to right it describes the Netherworld's reality through a multimodal composition of visual and linguistic signs.

From the manuscript’s left-hand side, the scribe presents the following scenes: The Aker Group 7 (Books of the Earth), The Aker Group 6 (Books of the Earth), The Solar Boat (Amdaut, Twelfth Hour), The Twelve Gods of Tow (Amdaut, Twelfth Hour), The Snake of Rejuvenation (Amdaut, Twelfth Hour), The Thirteen Goddesses of Tow (Amdaut, Twelfth Hour) and Khepri and Shu (Amdaut, Twelfth Hour).

The scribe then inserted two hieratic pages with the deceased’s name, Imenkhau, and titles on the manuscript’s right-hand side.

This manuscript is also known as  "Patchwork Papyrus" because of fragments of various other manuscripts dating to the Ramesside period being used as patches on the verso of the funerary papyrus.


Third Intermediate Period (1076-664 BC)


Dynasty 21/Dynasty 22 (986-840 BC)




Thebes/Deir el-Medina (?)

Acquisition: Drovetti, Bernardino

Acquisition Date: 1824

Joining object(s) (log into TPOP)



  • Text 1


Enrico Pozzi (EP)


Shenali Boange (SB)


hieratic, cursive hieroglyphs

Text type

Book of the Earth, Amduat


Aker Group 6, Aker Group 7, Twelfth Hour


Third Intermediate Period (1076-664 BC)


Dynasty 21/Dynasty 22 (986-840 BC)





Drawing description

The manuscript’s visual representation describes a specific segment of the Sun-god Re’s nocturnal journey through the Twelfth Hour of the night. The treatise’s visual model does not resemble the prototype established that decorates the 18th Dynasty royal burial chambers in the Valley of the Kings. The scribe focuses on the Twelfth Hour’s middle register to represent the deceased’s desire to be reborn in the Solar-Osirian unity, re-arranging the scenes and replacing the cosmographical texts. Consequently, some deities are missing from these episodes (deities 846-848, 851-855, 861-868 and 874-882). The treatise’s palimpsest consists of a single horizontal register presenting Re, in his nocturnal shape as a ram-headed deity, travelling on the solar barque through the last netherworld region. From the manuscript’s left-hand side, the author presents a small vignette with Osiris' funerary barque, whilst Isis attends to the deceased’s mummy. Mounted on the barque’s prow is a disc, providing a solar counterpoint to the otherwise predominantly Osirian scene. Isis’ appearance on top of Osiris' mummified form alludes to post-mortem creation, by which Isis begat the dead god’s son and heir. This representation is usually paired with the funerary barque of the falcon-headed god Horus of the Duat: we can see this boat’s prow and solar disc on the manuscript’s broken left margin. The second vignette presents a male figure (presumably the deceased himself) with his arms raised in the position of the dwA-praise. He is standing behind three bA-birds as the intended recipient of their praise. The third vignette reinforces the first, presenting three sarcophagi surmounted by human-headed bA-birds with a recumbent male mummy resting within each. The scribe also places three shade-signs behind these birds. In the manuscript’s centre, to complete Re’s rejuvenation process, four gods and four goddesses tow the solar barque through the entire body of the life-regenerating serpent anx-nTr.w, (Life of the gods) represented here with mutilation signs as Re’s nemesis, the serpent Apophis. On the manuscript’s far right-hand side, we see the accomplishment of this deed: a beetle, being the Sun-god’s renewed form, exits the Netherworld. The beetle known as Khepri travels through the outstretched arms of the air-god Shu in order to be reborn as the sun disk at dawn.

Bibliographical reference

Hornung E., Das Amduat: die Schrift des verborgenen Raumes, Teil I–III (ÄA 7 und 13), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 1963-1967 (OEB10071-12422).

Niwinski A., Studies on the Illustrated Theban Funerary Papyri of the 11th and 10th Centuries B.C. (OBO 86), Fribourg / Göttingen: Universitätsverlag / Vandenhoeck Ruprecht 1989 (OEB 32792).

Roberson J. A., The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Earth (WilbStud 1), Atlanta: Lockwood Press 2012 (OEB171611).

Sadek, A-A F., Contribution à l’étude de l’Amdouat: Les variantes tardives du Livre de l’Amdouat dans les papyrus du Musée du Caire (OBO 65), Freiburg / Göttingen: Universitätsverlag / Vandenhoeck Ruprecht 1985 (OEB 29751).

Museo Egizio