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The Guardians of Menekhibnekau: Chapter 144 of the Book of the Dead in the Shaft Tomb of Menekhibnekau at Abusir

Renata Landgráfová


Although the Saite-Persian shaft tomb of Menkehibnekau at Abusir is more conservative in its decoration programme than that of Iufaa, it nonetheless contains several interesting and unusual features. One such element of decoration is Chapter 144 of the Book of the Dead with its vignette on the southern (entrance) wall of the burial chamber. While the placement of Pyramid Text snake spells at such locations for apotropaic/guardian functions is well known, demonic gate-guardians have so far been found only here. The vignette, moreover, uses the three-dimensional feature of the entrance to the burial chamber as the depiction of its “gates,” thus stressing even more the dual function of the BD 144 demons as both underworld gate guardians and guardians of the burial chamber of Menekhibnekau.

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