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THE GREENFIELD PAPYRUS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM E.A. Wallis Budge, 1912

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THE GREENFIELD PAPYRUS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM E.A. Wallis Budge, 1912

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THE GREENFIELD PAPYRUS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM E.A. Wallis Budge, 1912

1,500.00

Budge, E.A. Wallis. The Greenfield Papyrus in the British Museum: The Funerary Papyrus of Princess Nesitanebtaṡhru, Daughter of Painetchem II and Nesi-Khensu, and Priestess of Amen-Rā at Thebes, about B.C. 970, Reproduced in Collotype Facsimile, With Introduction and Description.

London: The British Museum (Printed by Order of the Trustees), 1912. First Edition. Hardcover. Small folio (measures 10.5 x 12.5 inches). Bound in bright scarlet cloth with gilt titles to spine. Bevelled edges. This is a very heavy book. Tiny amount of wear to spine ends, former owner’s small name to front free end paper. No other markings. A scarce and much sought after book. Extremely rare in this condition. A BEAUTIFUL NEAR FINE COPY. 

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The present Volume contains a complete half-scale facsimile of the Greenfield Papyrus in the British Museum, and a full description of its contents. This papyrus is one of the longest and most beautifully illustrated manuscripts of the 'Book of the Dead' to have survived. The complete papyrus was over thirty-seven meters (122 feet) in length. It was made for a woman named Nestanebisheru, the daughter of the high priest of Amun Pinedjem II. As a member of the ruling elite at Thebes, she was provided with funerary equipment of very high quality. Many of the spells included on her papyrus are illustrated with small vignettes, and besides these there are several large illustrations depicting important scenes. This papyrus was one of a number of funerary papyri that were found between 1871 and 1881 in the tomb at Der al-Bahari which served as a hiding place for the mummies of the kings and priest-kings who reigned from about 1550 B.C. to 950 B.C., and it was presented in May, 1910, to the Trustees of the British Museum by Mrs. Mary Greenfield, by whose husband it had been acquired.

The care displayed in the writing and in the execution of the Vignettes, and the generous spaces between the Chapters, and in the larger Vignettes, suggest that the copyist was no hireling who covered so many feet of papyrus with text and Vignettes as quickly as possible, but a careful scribe to whom the work was a labour of love. The selection of the Chapters from the Book of the Dead, and the treatment of some of the Vignettes further suggest that the copyist was a member of the College of Amen, and may even have been Nesitanebtashru herself. In the list of her titles, which is found in several places in her papyrus, she is called the dakd, of the rolls, or manuscripts, of Amen-Ra, the " King of the gods," and "singer of the liturgy of Mut, the Lady of Ashru.” What the duties of these offices were exactly is not known, but it is clear that the performance of them involved a knowledge of the contents of the "divine books " of Amen-Ra, and she must have taken part in arranging the musical portion of the service of Amen-Ra and Mut at Karnak. The latter half of the Papyrus of Nesitanebtashru contains a large selection of Hymns, Litanies, etc., which are not known to exist in any other papyrus, and it is not unreasonable to conclude that she was the bakd - the worker, or author of them. According to Budge, it is very possible that a great many of the sections of the liturgies which she sang at dawn, at sunrise, and at sunset, and the Hymns which she sang monthly on the day of the new moon, and during the great festivals at Karnak, were composed by herself. 

The contents of the papyrus are exceedingly valuable for the study of the Egyptian Religion under the New Empire, for they illustrate the manner in which an educated priestess on the foundation of Amen-Ra succeeded in adapting her belief in Osiris, the great national Ancestor-god, to suit the demands for supremacy in Heaven, Earth, and the Other World which were made by the brotherhood of Amen-Ra on behalf of their god. 

The Papyrus of Nesitanebtashru contains eighty-seven Chapters of the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, and a long series of Hymns, Litanies, and invocations to Ra, Ra-Harmakhis, Osiris, Thoth, and other gods.