Monday, October 29, 2012

Dynasty 21 Papyrus in Vienna

Khonsu-mes, Dynasty 21
     The Art History Museum in Vienna has a very nice papyrus dating to the Twenty-first Dynasty. It is a funerary papyrus belonging to Khonsu-mes, who held a number of titles (including "Overseer of the Goldsmith's Shop" and "Overseer of Construction Works") in the temple of Amun at Karnak.

     The papyrus, which contains illustrations from the "Book of what is in the Underworld" was painted by an excellent artist. It is also an example of a trend in funerary papyri in which illustrations dominate the papyrus and there are only a limited number of captions. This is different from earlier funerary papyri that had a large amount of text and a few illustrations.

     The object in front of Khonsu-mes is an animal skin hanging from a pole. An example of this object was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter, but egyptologists are not certain what the significance of the object is.

     Other examples of this type of papyri are known from the same period, including one for Amenhotep, Overseer of Scribes in Karnak. This papyrus is in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, as is a slightly earlier one belonging to Amunemwia (also in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin).

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