The Pictorial Tradition of Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead during the Third Intermediate Period (21st−22nd Dynasties)

Tarasenko Nikolai A.

Evolution of Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead (BD 17) in the 3rd Intermediate Period is discussed in the article. The research is focussed on the papyri with illustrations to the chapter in question. Among 44 original sources (or 50 if one takes into consideration the distribution of parts of the manuscripts among modern museums) only 13 have BD 17 with vignettes. The first five (pMw.t-m-wjA pBerlin P. 3157 (Вв); pNDm(w).t (A) pLondon BM 10541 + pLouvre E. 6258 (Fr. 1) + pMünchen ÄS 825; Nsj-tA-nb.t-iSrw pLondon BM 10554 (pGreenfield); panx=f-n-#ncw pCairo J.E. 95658 / S.R. IV. 556; p¦A-wDA.t-Ra pCairo S.R. VII. 11496; pIni-pH=f-nxt pCologny- Geneva C (Bibliotheca Bodmeriana)) are published and well known. Their vignettes are more or less studied. In the unpublished panx=s-n-Mw.t pCairo J.E. 95637 / S.R. IV. 528 and p¦A-bAk-n- #ncw pCairo S.R. VII. 10222 the vignettes of BD 17 illustrate other chapters. The last five papyri are mostly unknown to Egyptologists (panx=f-n-#ncw pCologny-Geneva CI; p&A-nt-imnt.t-hrt-ib pCologny-Geneva CII; pNsj-#ncw pTurin 1818; р+d-#ncw pPetersburg Hermitage No 18587; p_iw-sw-n-Mw.t pLondon BM 9948). Only the last manuscript, _iw-sw-n- Mw.t, was published and listed in A. Niwiński’s catalogue, while the other four are unpublished. All five scrolls belong to a separate type (very similar to the BD.II.1 type according to A. Niwiński’s classification) and might be described as an example of «duplication». The manuscripts have individual initial vignettes and two chapters of BD (one of them is illustrated): initial vignette (polychrome in two scrolls) – BD 17 and BD 1 (text) – BD 17v (selected monochrome vignettes). The script of all papyri is cursive hieroglyphic, they all belong, probably, to the period of the second half of the 21st Dynasty. According to the author’s reconstruction, this group of papyri represents the last stage in the evolution of hieroglyphic and illustrated BD of the so-called «Theban Recension». They might have been produced immediately before the period of total domination of the hieratic BD (with unillustrated chapters, type BD.I.2 according to A. Niwiński) started at the end of the 21st Dynasty and beginning of the 22nd Dynasty.

Keywords: the Book of the Dead, the Third Intermediate Period, papyrus, pictorial tradition, vignettes