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AN EGYPTIAN LINEN MANUSCRIPT FRAGMENT
PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, CIRCA 1ST CENTURY B.C.

With an illustration of a gardening scene including three figures watering and tending trees, the tree on the left a Tamarinde, brought into Egypt in the Persian occupation, with three lines of script below written in a simplified form of demotic character reading, 1) possibly ... itn.f "his sun-disk"; followed by Da name of a district in the Tanite nome; ... Sn "garden"(??); 2) ... mAA "to see"; ... possibly aA "great"; ... possibly tw.k "you..." (verbal prefix of 1st Present verbal construction); 3) ... name of a plant; ... possibly n "of" qnH"(the) shrine"; possibly in-nA pAy.f "If his..."

90 x 120 mm.

Lot Essay

According to E. Hornung (The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife [Ithaca-London: Cornell, 1999], p. 14), demotic Book of the Dead exemplars are first attested in the Roman period. Chronologically, this means that the latter part of the 1st Century BC would be the beginning of the time range of this type of manuscript. It is also worth noting that Book of the Dead texts on linen can be found at both the early and the late phases of the Book of the Dead tradition (see Hornung, ibid. pp. 13f).

The vignette--offering bearers and a man making lustration to a tree--suggests the sycamore tree, which is associated with both Hathor and Nut. This calls to mind the vignettes of Book of the Dead, chapters 53 and 59.

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