Amduat of Tanetshedkhons



Amduat of Tanetshedkhons


papyrus manuscript


1076-944 BC


Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21


Papyrus, pigment
8 1/4 x 49 1/2 in. (21 x 125.7 cm)

Object Number



This papyrus belonged to the Mistress of the House and Chantress of Amun, Tanetshedkhons, a Theban noblewoman of the Twenty-first Dynasty. The scroll is inscribed with portions of two funerary texts known as the "Litany of Re" and the "Amduat," or "Book of that which is in the Underworld." The "Amduat", like the "Book of the Dead," is one of several guidebooks designed to aid the deceased in their perilous journey through the Underworld. These guidebooks provided descriptions of the Underworld, accompanied by illustrations, to familiarize the deceased with the challenges to be faces and to lessen their apprehension. In the "Litany of Re," the deceased is equated with the sun god, who was reborn each morning, in the hope of securing the same fate.

Like many other funerary texts, the "Amduat" and "Litany" were originally restricted to the use of the king, though the elite had adopted them by the Twenty-first Dynasty. In its fullest form, the "Amduat" consists of twelve sections, corresponding to the hours of the night when the sun god travels through the Underworld in his boat. Certain sections, such as these, depict the beings, both good and evil, that inhabit the Underworld and may help - or hinder - the deceased. This papyrus would have been placed in the tomb, near Tanetshedkhons for easy access. In some cases, kings would inscribe an abbreviated version at the foot of their coffins as a quick reference.

The Lady Tanetshedkhons was one of the higher-ranking members of Theban society, and a relation of the powerful Amun priests that claimed royal authority during the Twenty-first Dynasty. Several other items from her burial equipment are known, including funerary figurines and papyri.

Credit Line

Gift of Anne Cox Chambers


From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - January 2011|
Monsters, Demons & Winged Beasts: Composite Creatures in the Ancient World, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - June 19, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, June 20 - September 20, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, June 17, 2013 - August 29, 2016
Sotheby's New York, Classical, Egyptian, and Western Asiatic Antiquities Including Property from the Collection of Gustave & Franyo Schindler, and Property from the Estate of Lillian Rojtman Berkman (Thursday, December 9, 2004), 130, number 318.|
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2005.|
MCCM Newsletter, December 2005 - February 2006.|
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva 17 (January/February 2006): 9-16.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 24.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2007.
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“Amduat of Tanetshedkhons,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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