Eleven Egyptian Papyrus Fragments from a single scroll, commissioned by Hapymen, 30th Dynasty, ca. 332 BCE
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Fragments from a single, large papyrus scroll, commissioned by Hapymen, son of Setja-iret-binet (mother) and Nedjhor (father). With 19 columns of text inscribed with several spells from the Book of the Dead, the text is surmounted by two winged figures and a partial drawing of a goddess to the left. The text reads:
LEFTMOST AND MIDDLE PIECES — BOOK OF THE DEAD, Chapter 89
A Spell for Causing the Soul to be united to the body in the Underworld
… you being young, alive, and stable forever.
… you shall not be afraid, your heart shall not be afraid, I will not be distant. You cause your utterance to …
… Hapymen, true of voice, born of Setja-iret-binet, true of voice,
like those who are upon earth, you being alive, fresh, stable, and young forever.
The gods who are in the necropolis give invocation offerings of bread, beer, oxen, fowl, wine, milk,
incense, cool water, provisions, everything good and pure.
PIECES IN MIDDLE TOWARD LEFT — BOOK OF THE DEAD, Chapter 162
A Spell for causing a flame to come into being under the head of a spirit.
Words spoken by the Osiris Hapy-men, true of voice, son of Nedjhor, true of voice,
born of the lady of the house Setja-iret-binet, true of voice: Hail to you, O
Lion, strong one, tall of feathers, possessor of a crown! You are the merciful god who comes
to those who call to him. Your name is in my mouth. O may she say, “I am the cow.”
May you cause a flame to come into being under the head of the Osiris Hapymen, true of voice.
RIGHTMOST PIECES — BOOK OF THE DEAD, Chapter 191
A Spell for Bringing the Soul to the Body
O you who bring souls, O you who cut up shadows, O all you gods who are at the head of the living!
May you come bringing the soul of Osiris Hapymen, true of voice, born of Setja-iret-binet,
true of voice, to him so that his heart may be glad, so that his soul may join his body, so that his soul may come to his body, to his heart, it being glad.
[Bring th]em to him, O gods in the mansion of the benben in Heliopolis, in the presence of Shu, son of Atum.
His ib-heart belongs to him like Re, his haty-heart belongs to him like Khepri. Be pure, be pure for …
… to Abydos(?) … born of the lady of the house … Osiris …
Note: The 'Benben Stone' was the focus of worship in the temple of the sun god Re at Heliopolis. The word "benben" is derived from the verb weben which means 'to shine'. It may therefore be associated with the first ray of sunlight, or with the mound of creation that emerged from the waters of chaos at the beginning of time.
Setja-iret-binet is referenced on two 30th dynasty ushabtis held in the British museum: EA2007: Shabti for Padiheka born of Setja-iret-binet (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA9007), accessioned in 1834 EA34101: Shabti for Ahmose, born of Setja-iret-binet (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA34101), accessioned in 1878
Dimensions: frame measures 17 x 24 in, 12 x 20 in
Condition: Fragmentary as shown with clear, crisp text and drawings, presented on a linen background and custom mounted, presumably by John J. Newbegin’s New and Rare Books based on the attached label at the back.
Provenance: Estate of Holbrook Townsend Mitchell (April 28, 1929 - April 11, 2021) private collection, Northern California, acquired from John J. Newbegin’s New and Rare Books, 358 Post Street, San Francisco, established in 1899 and closed prior to 1972. Born in Philadelphia, Holbrook Mitchell (1929-2021) lived in the Pennsylvania suburbs as a child, where he fell in love with farming, which paved the way for his future career. His studies were diverse and included law school, time in a seminary, and acquiring a teaching credential. After serving in the military in Army intelligence during the Korean War, he purchased a farm in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, where he grew grapes, apples, and prunes. The family later moved to a ranch in Napa Valley, where they planted vineyards with various grape varieties. Mr. Mitchell had a wide range of interests: he loved England, history, the opera and symphony, and Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles. He also judged classic cars, restored a Victorian house, and built a grain mill. Likewise, he was an avid collector with eclectic tastes, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, French paintings, Victorian furniture, and more. However, his favorite collectibles were books, following in the collecting footsteps of his mother. When he was an adult, his collection grew: in addition to books from his mother, he sourced volumes and manuscripts from auctions and San Francisco booksellers, including John Howell Books.