Tutankhamun – Reviving Egypt’s Past for the Future

The Story of the Facsimile of the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the Meaning of the Pictures in its Burial Chamber

Cover of bookby Theodor Abt
Living Human Heritage Publications, Zurich 2016.
ISBN 978-39523880-9-9
143 pages, 110 illustrations, mostly in colours.

This book is intended as a guide for visitors to the facsimile of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Part I begins with an overview of what we owe to the Pharaonic culture in general. Part II goes on to the story of the rebuilding of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Then in Part III there follows an overview of the iconographic programme in the burial chamber. This section concludes with an introduction to the religious representations and texts, given on the four gilded shrines placed around the sarcophagus. These images and texts combine to provide unique guidelines to Pharaoh Tutankhamun in his tomb prior to his resurrection as Re-Osiris. The more we learn about the deeper meaning of these guidelines in the Pharaonic tombs, the more we can also see what all this may mean for us today. And the more these images and texts acquaint us with the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians about this world of the Beyond, the more we will be motivated to protect these treasures of the past in a sustainable way for future generations.

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Back of book, with a coloured image of the Burial Chamber.


Foreword by Prof. Dr Mamdouh Eldamaty 7
Introduction 9
Part I: What we owe to Pharaonic Egypt 11
1. Egypt – protected by Mother Nature 13
2. The first Half of human History – mainly written in Egypt 15
3. Equality of the male and the female Principle 17
4. The Pharaonic Concept of Sustainability – 3,000 Years of Success 19
5. Successful Overcoming of a Crisis: Tutankhamun and Ma‘at 21
6. The Sungod’s Journey to its own eternal Renewal 23
7. Following the Sungod’s Journey can bring about eternal
Rejuvenation 25
Part II: The Story of the Creation of Facsimiles of Pharaonic Tombs 27
1. The Problem of Mass Tourism 29
2. From the Problem to a possible Solution 31
3. The Facsimile of the Tomb of Thutmosis III 33
4. The Facsimile of the Tomb of Tutankhamun 35
5. The Phases of Making the Facsimile of the Tomb of Tutankhamun 37
6. The Facsimiles of the Tombs of Seti I and Queen Nefertari 47
7. Creating Work-places for Egyptians 49
Part III: The Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun:
Images and Texts in its Burial Chamber 55
1. Overview of the Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun 56
2. Who was Tutankhamun? 59
3. The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun 61
4. The Opening of the Burial Chamber 63
5. The Decoration on the Walls, Introduction 65
6. The east Wall 66
7. The north Wall 74
8. The south Wall 84
9. The west Wall 88
10. The south Wall – left Part 95
11. The four Shrines 97
12. The smallest Shrine IV 99
13. Shrine III 107
14. Shrine II 111
15. The Pall 115
16. Shrine I 117
17. The quartzite Sarcophagus 121
18. The three Coffins inside the Sarcophagus 123
19. The golden funerary Mask 125
Part IV: Appendix 127
1. Chronology of the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom 128
2. Selected Bibliography 129
3. List of Illustrations 132
4. Glossary 136
5. Index 139

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The Egyptian Book of Gates

Book-of-Gates400Translated into English by Erik Hornung
in collaboration with Theodor Abt

475 pages, richly illustrated
ISBN 978-3-9523880-5-1

The Egyptian Book of Gates is the second large Pharaonic Book of the Afterlife after The Egyptian Amduat.

The revised English translation is based on the German edition, edited by Erik Hornung.
The hieroglyphs and transcriptions are given on the basis of a collation of the extant texts found in different tombs. The main illustrations of the text come from the sarcophagus of Seti I.
The 100 scenes of the Book of Gates are furthermore represented with one or more colored illustrations, originating from different sources.

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The Egyptian Amduat – The Book of the Hidden Chamber

Amduat400Translated by David Warburton

Revised by Erik Hornung und Theodor Abt

Egyptian hieroglyphs, hieratic transcription and English

200 color images of the Amduat found in the tomb of Thutmosis III in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor/Thebes.


Amduat «What is in the Netherworld» was used in Ancient Egypt as a generic name for descriptions of the netherworld, but in modern Egyptology is reserved for the oldest of these compositions which has the original title of «Treatise of the Hidden Chamber».

We know it since the time of queen Hatshepsut, ca. 1470 B. C, and during the 18th dynasty it forms the exclusive decoration on the walls of the royal burial chamber. In Ramesside time (19th and 20th dynasty), it still belongs to the standard decoration of royal tombs, besides other Books of the Netherworld. The only non-royal person in the New Kingdom who has used an Amduat for his tomb is the vizier (highest official) Useramun who was in office under Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III.

After the end of the New Kingdom (1070 B. C), the Amduat was copied on papyri and on coffins and became now available for priests and their relatives. It was still prominent in tombs of the Late Period and on royal or non-royal sarcophagi until the Ptolemaic Period. Quotations from it are still found in the Roman Period.

Whereas the Book of the Dead is composed of individual spells with no fixed sequence, the Books of the Netherworld follow a strict pattern. The earlier compositions (Amduat and Book of Gates) are divided into twelve sections which correspond to the twelve hours of the night, text and pictures always forming a unity. Thus for the first time in history, the world beyond death is described here in word and image.

In addition to the long, illustrated version of the Amduat, a short version, without illustrations, is found in the tombs and on papyri. It is a sort of abstract or summary, listing important names and adding further remarks on the usefulness of the book. Only Tuthmosis III, in the upper pillared hall of his tomb, adds 741 deities from the Amduat to this catalogue, enemies excluded. Stars are added to express the desired ascent of the Ba-soul to heaven.

During the 18th dynasty, all texts are written in cursive hieroglyphs which were used for religious texts on papyri. For quick orientation, introductions and instructions are written in red, the rest black. Starting with Tutankhamun, the writing changes to normal hieroglyphs which are usually coloured. In our text, we transcribe the cursive forms into normal hieroglyphs and follow, wherever possible, the version of Amenhotep II, but in some places it had to be corrected or completed; the red parts (rubra) are mostly identical in the tombs of Tuthmosis III and Amenhotep II, but Tuthmosis, trying to follow the orientation of the hours according to the text, had to rearrange some of the registers (each hour but the first is divided into three horizontal sections, the registers). Normally, in the center of each hour the sun bark is placed, showing the sun god in his ram-headed, nocturnal form (the ram is one of the signs for the Ba-soul) passing through the Netherworld. A complete edition of all versions of the New Kingdom has been given in «Texte zum Amduat» by Erik Hornung (see bibliography). The numbers in brackets refer to this edition, and the continuous numbering of the deities (without brackets) is now generally used, going back to the German edition (with translation and commentary) of 1963.

A subsequent volume with the same layout will bring a detailed psychological commentary by Theodor Abt. The commentary is based on lectures given at the Research and Training Centre for Depth Psychology in 1998 and 2000.

Basle and Istanbul, May 2006 Erik Hornung and Theodor Abt

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Fig. 1: Scene from the catalogue of the 741 deities from the Amduat, 10th hour, Middle Register. (Photo: Th. Abt)

Knowledge for the Afterlife – A Quest for Immortality

by Erik Hornung und Theodor Abt

154 pages, richly illustrated, ISBN 978-3-9522608-0-7


Every evening the sun becomes old and weak and finally sets behind the Western horizon. Yet, it rises again in the morning, rejuvenated. How is that possible? How could the sun for the Ancient Egyptians the Sungod become young and revitalized during the night, during his night journey? What happens during this time?

The Amduat is a description of the journey of the Sungod through the nightworld, that is also the world of the deceased. The knowledge contained in the Amduat is meant for the dead Pharaoh. But the text also recommends this knowledge for living beings. Thus, the journey of the Sungod can also be seen as a symbolic representation of an inner psychic process of transformation and renewal.

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