We have actually very few example of the Book of Nut. We find examples in the cenotaph of Seti I at Abydos and in the tomb of Ramesses IV, though the latter is abbreviated. The only other evidence of this book is a commentary written in the Roman Period, and an incomplete version in the tomb of Mutirdis (TT410) dating from the 26th Dynasty. The longer appended text that accompanies the captions was reproduced in the Papyrus Carlsberg in Demotic script.
The scene and captions of this book are arranged under the figure of the sky goddess Nut, with her arms and legs spread out. All of the figures within the scene face the head of Nut, and so the end of the book. Arranged horizontally into five registers, the text follows the course of the twelve hours of the day. This arrangement, however, makes it unclear where one hour ends and the next begins. A prologue and concluding representation stand out from the main text. It should also be noted that the Book of the Day and the Book of the Night may have been intended as a single entity, but they are only shown together in the tomb of Ramesses VI.
The Beginning of the Book of the Day
Book of the Day showing Apophis
Book of the Day showing the Field of Reeds
Book of the Day showing the Last Hour
Conclusion of the Book of the Day
The Book of the Night:
The first version of the Book of the Night that we know of comes from the Osireion at Abydos, and only extends to the ninth hour of the night. There was a copy in the tomb (KV8) of Merneptah on the ceiling of the antechamber, but it is mostly gone now. Ramesses IV included this book next to the Book of Nut on the ceiling of his sarcophagus chamber, though only as far as the fourth hour. However, the tomb (KV9) of Ramesses VI gives us two complete copies, one on the west side of the ceiling of the sarcophagus chamber while the second version is spread out through earlier chambers Both versions are complemented by representations of the Book of the Day. We also find scenes from the book in the tomb of Ramesses IX
In all of these instances, the book is depicted on the ceiling of the New Kingdom tombs, though at Tanis, they shifted to the walls. Osorkon II combined it with the Book of the Day, while Shoshenq III followed Seti I's version.
During the Late Period, we also find extracts from the book in several tombs, including TT33, 132 and 410, along with fragments from the Nilometer at Roda. Even as late as the 30th Dynasty we may also note examples on sarcophagi, where they are combined with hours from the Amduat. There are also text from the second hour of the night found in the solar sanctuaries of Deir el-Bahri, Medinet Habu and Karnak.
Again, Champollion provided the initial copies of the versions found in the tomb of Ramesses VI, and later Eugene Lefebure added the Ramesses IV version in 1889. Edouard Naville discovered the version of the Book of the Night in the cenotaph of Seti I at Abydos in 1914, which was published by Henri Frankfort in 1933. Alexandre Piankoff also published the Book of the Night in 1942, but again did not take into account the versions found in the Tanis tombs. That version was replaced by one written by Gilles Roulin.
The Book of the Night is divided into twelve sections separated from each other by vertical line of text designated as "gates". Unlike the Book of Gates, these precede the hours of the night to which they belong. The arms and legs of Nut represent the first and last gate, though the first hour is not presented. For each hour there is an introductory text which provides the most important details, though the remaining captions are brief.
The book is arranged in three registers that are staggered into five to seven registers due to space considerations. The sun barque travelers through the center register. Within this boat, the sun god, who is in his shrine, is surrounded by the coils of the Mehen-serpent while another serpent protects him. The crew of his boat features Sia at the prow as the spokesman of the god, Hu at the stern, Ma'at, and in the version at Abydos, the king. Within the upper registers are various deities while the lower register features various groups of deceased people, including the blessed and the damned. In front of the boat is a large group of towmen, sometimes as many as thirty, called the Unwearing Ones, who are led by the king. There is no descriptive text like that found in he Books of the Netherworld, and generally, the registers are not divided into scenes. At the end, a summary of the entire course of the sun is provided.
There must obviously be many similarities between this book and other Books of the Netherworld. Interestingly, however, the sun's enemy Apophis does not appear in this book at all though he appears in the Neitherworld books. Instead, the repelling of Seth is mentioned several times. This book complements the Book of the Day, beginning at the point where the sun god is swallowed by Nut and ending when she gives birth to him in the morning as a scarab. The sun god take the form of the Ram-headed nocturnal god, and is designated as flesh.
Sia takes an important role in this book, appearing as the spokesman of the sun god. The sun god has his own escort in the middle register of each hour, in place of the hour goddesses who accompany him in the Amduat and the Book of Gates.
Only in the Seti I version are remains of an introductory text. Here, the sun god provides us with an explanation of the goal of his journey through the underworld, which has to do with judging the damned and caring for the blessed. The primeval darkness is mentioned as a border area.
As in the Amduat and the Book of Gates, the first hour is seen as interstitial, and thus is not presented. The book begins with the second hour, where in the upper register depicts both individual and groups of deities. These include the deities of the four cardinal points, the bas of Buto and Hierakonpolis, and the two Enneads, which stand for the all divine beings.
In the upper register of the seventh hour, general forms also appear that represent existence and nonexistence. To their opposite are all of the deceased in the lower register, appearing as transfigured ones (akhu), mummies and the "dead", who are damned.
Missing is the union of Re and Osiris, found in other funerary text, though the representation of bas and corpses in the lower register of the sixth hour indicates the longed for union in the depths of night, with which the regeneration in the seventh hour is connected. Here, the critical moment requires the overcoming of various enemies. In the lower register of the seventh hour, another motif that first appears in the Book of Gates (13th scene) takes form. here, Horus looks upon both foreigners (shown as Asiatics, Libyans, Medja bedouins and Nubians) and Egyptians (shown as dwellers in the fertile land and the desert). The foreigners are depicted as bound enemies. The speech of the sun god also includes motifs from the 21st scene of the Book of Gates.
On the lower register of the eighth hour we find an enthroned Osiris, with Horus and the other gods connected with him in attendance. He is shown in victory over enemies, though only in Late Period representations are they directly addressed as Seth. Here, the groups of the blessed and damned are turned to Osiris is prayer, and their depiction continues into the ninth hour, when they are addressed by Sia. He dictates their fate in the afterlife and their attachment to Osiris, but in the tenth hour, only the blessed appear in the lower register.
The towmen preceding the solar barque are joined by four jackals designated "Western bas" in the twelfth and last hour. Here, the deities, including Osiris, in the lower register pray before the concluding representation which summarizes the entire course of the sun. The sun god, with the help of the primeval gods, is transformed into a scarab and a child. In the backdrop are the two boats of his daytime and nighttime passage, together with Isis and Nephthys who were later depicted in the prow of the barques, keeping the sun in motion between them. The text here refers to the total course of the sun god in the three cosmic realms consisting of the netherworld (Duat), the primeval waters (Nun) and the sky (Nut).
At the end is a description of the "Western bas". who tow the sun god into the sky.
1st and 2nd Hour of the Book of the Night
3rd Hour of the Book of the Night
4th Hour of the Book of the Night
5th Hour of the Book of the Night
6th Hour of the Book of the Night
7th Hour of the Book of the Night
8th Hour of the Book of the Night
9th Hour of the Book of the Night
10th Hour of the Book of the Night
11th Hour of the Book of the Night
12th Hour of the Book of the Night
Conclusion of the Book of the Night