The Turin Erotic Papyrus
Majd Al Habbal
American University of Beirut
In 19th Century Egypt, an extraordinary discovery was made; a document contained in a pot known as the Turin Erotic Papyrus and it is one of the most controversial sexual artifacts ever found of the ancient civilizations.
Even by today’s norms, the 3,000 years old images of the Papyrus are explicit and pornographic. If we are able to decode the symbols and codes of Ancient Egypt, perhaps we can understand what was really happening in the sheets.
Among the collection of artifacts in the Egyptian museum in Turin, Italy, one item stands out; it is the Papyrus 55001, or more commonly known as the Turin Erotic Papyrus.
The Papyrus is a scroll painting, supposedly created during the Ramasside period, discovered in Deir Al Madina and was often referred to as “world’s first men mag”.
Depicted within his fragments are images of twelve ordinary men and women engaging in explicit sexual positions. The erotic section takes up two thirds of the Papyrus, while the other one third is the animal section, which depicts animals performing various human tasks.
The papyrus hence asserts that sex in Ancient Egypt was anything but taboo. This of course came a bit of a surprise to me, as we now look at Egyptians as somewhat sexually frustrated.
Looking at the Turin Erotic Papyrus however, we can be confident that this was not the case in ancient times.
What is also surprising is the fact