The Papyrus of Ani is a papyrus manuscript written in cursive hieroglyphs and illustrated with color miniatures created in the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt (c. 1250 B.C.).
Egyptians often compiled an individualized book for each person at their death, called the "Book of Going Forth by Day". This book is more commonly known as the Book of the Dead. It usually contained declarations and spells to help the deceased in their afterlife. The "Book of the Dead" for scribe Ani from Thebes is the manuscript called the Papyrus of Ani.
It was purchased in 1888 by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge for the collection of the British Museum where it remains today. Before shipping the manuscript to England, Budge cut the seventy-eight foot scroll into thirty-seven sheets of nearly equal size, damaging the scroll's integrity at a time when technology had not yet allowed the pieces to be put back together.
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Maat themes found in the Book of the Dead and on tomb inscriptions:
One aspect of ancient Egyptian funerary literature which often is mistaken for a codified ethic of Maat is Spell (Chapter) 125 of the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani (known to the ancient Egyptians as The Book of Going Forth by Day). The lines of this spell are often collectively called the "Forty-Two Declarations of Purity" or the Negative Confessions. These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb and so cannot be considered a canonical definition of Maat. Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner's individual conception of Maat, as well as working as a magical absolution—misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased.
Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a "flavor" for the sorts of things which Maat governed — essentially everything, from the most formal to the most mundane aspects of life.
The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani. The following are taken from public domain translations made by E. A. Wallis Budge in the early part of the 20th century; more recent translations may differ in the light of modern scholarship.
The Funeral Processionof the
Royal Scribe Ani.From the Papyrus of Ani. (c. 1400 B.C.)The British Museum
. . . . .The Egyptians believed that the human soul used the first night after death to travel into the afterlife. However, the body, which the Egyptians believed was an essential element to the afterlife had to be mummified to preserve it for eternity. The mummification process took 72 days to perform properly. This was the time to put finishing touches on the tomb and to pack all the deceased's worldly possessions, which surely would be needed in the afterlife.
The Funeral procession of the Royal Scribe Ani.
. . . . .In this picture we see servants or hired hands carrying Ani's home furnishings, Servants are dragging a chest on which Anubis is sitting, inside the chest is more of Ani's worldly possessions or perhaps his canopic jars. All of these objects will be placed in the tomb for his use in the afterlife. In front of them are eight male mourners dressed in white. Ani's mummy rides on a funerary boat which is being drawn by oxen. Very hard to see in this picture are the goddesses Isis and Nephthys who are usually shown in this scene protecting the dead. Ani's wife mourns at his side. The man wearing a leopard skin and turned back towards Ani's mummy is a priest, he is burning incense.
Papyrus of Ani : the Adoration of Re (end)
"May my name be proclaimed when found upon the board of offerings ;
may my food offerings be given in my presence like (to) the Followers of Horus."
The vignette depicts Ani and his wife, offering to the gods before a board of offerings
Ani's wife Thuthu is described as "the lady of the house, the qematet of Amen". What the title "lady of the house
[1. Naville, Einleitung, pp. 48-54.
2. See Brugsch, Aegyptologie, p. 223.
3. In the list of the high officers of the priesthood given by Brugsch (Aegyptologie, p. 218), we meet with an official whose title is ###, "the scribe set over the sacred property of the gods"; Ani held a similar appointment.
4 Plate 19; her name is nowhere else mentioned in the papyrus.]
means has not yet been decided, but qemat is the title applied to the noble ladies who sang or played on an instrument in the temple of a god. The lady Thuthu belonged to the number of the priestesses of the god Amen-Ra at Thebes, and she always carries in her hands the sistrum. and the instrument menat, the emblems of her office. Thus Ani and his wife were high ecclesiastical dignitaries connected with the famous confraternity of the priests of Amen.