Copy of Hypocephalus, between circa July 1835 and circa March 1842
Copy of Hypocephalus, [, Geauga Co., OH, between ca. July 1835 and ca. Mar. 1842]; unidentified handwriting; one page; Book of Abraham Manuscripts, CHL.
Single leaf measuring 10¼ × 9 inches (26 × 23 cm). Two concentric circles were created with a compass. The inner circle, measuring 6½ inches (17 cm) in diameter, was inscribed in ink, while the outer circle, measuring 7¾ inches (20 cm) in diameter, is etched into the paper. The leaf was folded in half horizontally and then folded again. Some wear along the right side of the leaf has caused most of the paper to fold in on itself, and the upper left corner is torn away. Foxing or staining on this document matches similar staining on other documents related to the Egyptian-language project, indicating close, long-term storage with them. This document was presumably included with the Egyptian material identified in various Historian’s Office inventories throughout the nineteenth century, which suggests continuous institutional custody.
“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” ; “Inventory. Historian’s Office. 4th. April 1855,” ; “Historian’s Office Inventory, G. S. L. City March 19, 1858,” ; “Historian’s Office Catalogue Book March 1858,” , Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL; see also Historian’s Office, Journal, 17 Oct. 1855.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
This document bears a hand-drawn copy of the hypocephalus of Sheshonq, which is no longer extant. Hypocephali were inscribed papyri or other objects that were traditionally placed beneath the head of a deceased person for burial. This copy was made in ink. Later, someone used graphite to shade in what were apparently the lacunae of the original hypocephalus. This document and the possible aborted attempt to draw a hypocephalus in Notebook of Copied Egyptian Characters, circa Early July 1835, are likely linked, which would date this document to the era. It is also possible that this copy dates to the era, when the hypocephalus of Sheshonq was published as Facsimile 2 of the Book of Abraham.
For the ancient context of the hypocephalus of Sheshonq, see Rhodes, Joseph Smith Hypocephalus, 1–12; Ritner, Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri, 215–226; and Gee, “Towards an Interpretation of Hypocephali,” 330–334.
Rhodes, Michael D. The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus . . . Seventeen Years Later. FARMS Preliminary Reports. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994.
Ritner, Robert K. The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, P. JS 1–4 and the Hypocephalus of Sheshonq. Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2011.
Gee, John. “Towards an Interpretation of Hypocephali.” In Mélanges offerts à Edith Varga: “Le lotus qui sort de terre,” edited by Hedvig Györy, 325–334. Budapest: Musée Hongrois des Beaux- Arts, 2001.