Homepage Timeline Maps A-Z index Learning

Book of the Dead Chapter 23


The composition is not attested in the Middle Kingdom; it first occurs among other Book of the Dead chapters on the coffin of the king's wife Mentuhotep of the Seventeenth Dynasty.

Compare the ritual for the Opening of the Mouth as illustrated in New Kingdom tomb-chapels and later hieroglyphic and cursive inscriptions and manuscripts.

The version of Chapter 23 below follows the version in two 18th Dynasty Book of the Dead (Egyptian Museum, Cairo, papyrus of Amenhotep Cd and papyrus 2512: Munro 1994, pl.101 and 55).


r n wn r
wHa r.i in ptH
di ntwt iry r.i in nTr niwt.i
ii r.f DHwty mH apr m HkAw.f
wHa.n.f n.i xt r stS irw r.i
xsf drty.i itm wd.f sn m sAwt r.i
wn r.i wp r.i in ptH m mDAt.f twy nt biA
wp.n.f r n nTrw im.s
ink sxmt wADyt
Hms.i Hr gs imy-wrt aAt m pt
ink sAHyt Hrt-ib bAw iwnw
ir HkAw nb mdt nbt Dd r.i
aHa nTrw r.s psDt dmd.ti psDwt.s


Formula for opening the mouth
My mouth is released by Ptah,
the bonds of my mouth are caused to be unfettered by the god of my city.
Thoth comes fully equipped with his words of power,
and has released for me the items belonging to Seth, the bonds of my mouth,
My hands are moved by Atum, he puts them forward as the guard of my mouth.
My mouth is opened, my mouth is parted by Ptah with that tool of iron,
with which he has opened the mouth of the gods.
I am Sekhmet Wadjyt,
I sit beside the great starboard in the sky,
I am Sahyt amids the powers of Iunu.
As for any words of power, any speech uttered against me,
May the gods stand against them, the assembled Ennead and its Enneads.


Copyright © 2003 University College London. All rights reserved.