Conservation of the Book of the Dead of Herw

The Brooklyn Museum took on the conservation of the Book of the Dead of Herw (Brooklyn 37.1484E). During the grant period, they digitally documented, conducted testing and analysis, surface cleaning, and applied temporary facings to the papyrus. Project Director: Yekaterina Barbash

The Brooklyn Museum took on the conservation of the Book of the Dead of Herw (Brooklyn 37.1484E). During the grant period, they digitally documented, conducted testing and analysis, surface cleaning, and applied temporary facings to the papyrus. Due to its poor condition, the papyrus could not be displayed and remained in storage, unknown to the public and scholars since its arrival at the Museum in 1937. However, its origin in northern Egypt, unusual textual features, and attractive vignettes offer a rare opportunity to further the study of Egyptian religion. Measuring approximately 22.5 ft long and 11.75 in high, with an additional piece of about 18 in, the papyrus of Herw records roughly 100 columns of red and black hieratic script, each enclosed in black double lines. Several columns consist of only vignettes, and the top registers of many other columns contain vignettes. The high quality of vignettes will greatly contribute to the study of Ptolemaic ink drawings. The hieratic script, formal layout and location of vignettes, fit into Mosher’s Style 2, which is dated from the Saite period to 2nd century B.C.E. The paleography confirms the date.

Project Details


Location: United States, Northern America, Americas Organiser(s): Brooklyn Museum Funder(s): American Research Center in Egypt - Antiquities Endowment Fund Grant Funding received: $75,000 Commencement Date: 05/2017 Project Status: Completed
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