The Book of The Dead | Papirus of Ani

Facsimile edition on natural papyrus

For the first time we present a facsimile edition of The Book of the Dead, on authentic natural papyrus along with a luxurious commentary book describing each one of the 37 illustrated vignettes from the British Museum in London. The commentary book also includes the translation of all hieroglyphic texts.

The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BC) to around 50 BC. “Book” is the closest term to describe the loose collection of texts consisting of a number of ritual spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat, or underworld, into the afterlife and written by many priests over a period of about 1000 years.

The Book Of The Dead is one of the most influential books of the history and a religious referent of the Egyptian culture for more than three thousand years


What is The Book of The Dead?

“I have not stolen the bread of the gods”

The Book of the Dead was part of a tradition of funerary texts which includes the earlier Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, which were painted onto objects, not papyrus. Some of the spells included were drawn from these older works and date to the 3rd millennium BC. Other spells were composed later in Egyptian history, dating to the Third Intermediate Period (11th to 7th centuries BC). A number of the spells which made up the Book continued to be inscribed on tomb walls and sarcophagi from which they have been originated. The Book of the Dead was placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased.

There was no single or canonical Book of the Dead. The surviving papyri scrolls contain a varying selection of religious texts and vary considerably in their illustration. Some people seem to have commissioned their own copies of the Book of the Dead, perhaps choosing the spells they thought most vital in their own progression to the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was most commonly written in hieroglyphic or hieratic script on a papyrus scroll, and often illustrated with vignettes depicting the deceased and their journey into the afterlife.

The famous Spell 125, the ‘Weighing of the Heart’, is first known from the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, c.1475 BC. From this period onward the Book of the Dead was typically written on a papyrus scroll, and the text illustrated with vignettes. During the 19th dynasty in particular, the vignettes tended to be lavish, sometimes at the expense of the surrounding text.

Scientific Commentary

Zahi Hawass (born May 28, 1947) is an Egyptian archaeologist, an Egyptologist, and former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs. He has also worked at archaeological sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.


“The Papyrus of Ani perhaps the most famous papyrus in the British Museum. Dated to Dynasty 19th of the New Kingdom, it is an exceptionally well-preserved Book of Coming Forth by Day, commonly known as a Book of the Dead. The cursive hieroglyphic script and the beautifully drawn and colored vignettes make the papyri one of the most spectacular Book of the Dead scrolls ever found. Some people think that Sir Wallis Budge stole the papyrus and cut it into several pieces by in 1888, before he donated it to the British Museum. But I disagree, because Budge did not sell or profit from the papyrus. Instead, he gave it to be kept for posterity at the British Museum. Perhaps, at that time, he was afraid that this beautiful papyrus would be damaged, and he wanted to publish it. Unfortunately, Budge’s actions, at a time when techniques were not developed enough to put the pieces back together again, damaged the integrity of this artifact. We cannot look at the publication of this detailed facsimile by CARTEM without thanking the previous scholars who dedicated their time and effort to translating this great papyrus. First, we have to mention Sir Wallis Budge, who did the first translation and who drew our attention to this wonderful masterpiece. In addition, we have to thank those who published other translations of the same papyrus, such as Peter Le Page Renouf and Raymond Faulkner."

Zahi Hawass


Facsimile Specification

Origin: Tomb of Ani, Thebes, Egypt.
Date: Year 1250 BC.
Support: Papyrus.
Technique: Hand painted.
Text: Hieroglyph.
Signature: EA 10470. The British Museum.
Print run: 999 limited edition copies.
Presentation: Luxurious box in walnut root wood.

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