The Book of the Dead Chapter 17 Vignettes in the Papyrus of Nakht (pLondon BM 10471)

Tarasenko Nikolai A.

The first known case of illustrated BD 17 from the post-Amarnian time is represented by drawings in the pap. Nxt (pLondon BM 10471, end of the XVIII Dynasty). Their stylistics and grouping have a number of features which are not typical of the Ramesside period copies. The introductory scene with a deceased in the booth before a snt-game table is separated by the dividing lines. Vignettes of the spell are grouped in two «blocks»of the friezes divided by the columns of the text. The text of BD 17 in the pap. Nxt is finished on sheet 4, while the continuous frieze of drawings of the second «block» of its vignettes (enclosing scenes from some other spells) goes on to the 7th sheet as «illustrations» to the text of BD 18, 72, 136A, 136B, 44, 91 (title) and 9. Some features of the pap. Nxt design demonstrate the creative moment in the making of the illustrative frieze of BD 17. The scenes of the BD 17 vignettes illustrating various stages of posthumous travel were created as an original analog for the Royal Underworld Books, but intended for private persons. They do not have the marks dividing temporal phases of the underworld solar cycle, so characteristic for Royal products, but elements of this division are present here as well. The reasons of appearance of a BD 17 vignettes frieze have not been explained yet. In the author’s opinion, their creation was directly connected with the reaction that followed Akhenaten’s death.

Keywords: Book of the Dead, New Kingdom, vignettes, papyrus Nxt.
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