Turin erotic papyrus

Turin erotic papyrus

We've been conditioned to think about ancient Egypt as a civilization full of mysteries, which maybe came into contact with ancient alien astronauts, austere, and fair-minded unlike the libertine dwellers in Pompeii. 

But if interest for the death and the cult of the Underworld is known, equally powerful was a passion for the life of ancient Egyptians. A testimony is provided by the Turin Erotic Papyrus.

Turin erotic papyrus
The original erotic papyrus preserved in the Egyptian Museum in Turin.

The erotic papyrus

This papyrus is among the most precious artifacts of the Egyptian Museum in Turin, recently restored and reinstalled. The papyrus consists of two parts: the first section is satirical, the second part erotic, with a mixture of images and text that makes it like a sort of Egyptian Kama Sutra.

In the second section, the viewer looks how took place real life of an Egyptian woman over 3,200 years ago (the papyrus dates back to the XX dynasty, that of Ramses who left us so many colossal monuments), being able to admire her hair, makeup, and other aspects related to the eros sphere including, of course, erotic positions.

Cave drawings

The latter are represented like real sexual acrobatics, a kind of representation we are used to tying more to Pompeii or ancient Greece than to Egypt, but it’s wrong: even in the Valley of the Kings, a rock carving shows an ancient queen with her lover who got her back.

Not exactly a picture that you expect to find in the case of a civilization obsessed with mortality and with the fear of having to come into the presence of Gods who looked like they were Aliens descending on Earth to judge men based on strict codes of conduct.

Turin erotic papyrus
Copy of erotic papyrus with its original colors.

Love positions

How did Egyptian women make love? It seems much more freely than their current progeny: they were hiding their lover under the bed often, they were taken on the chariot, they loved both missionary position both doggy style.

The ancient Egyptians already made use of condoms, derived from oiled and lubed animal intestines, or “hoods” of embroidered linen, proving to appreciate sex in a completely distinct manner from the will to generate progeny.

You know, ancient Egypt still amazes us, thousands of years later, and not just for so many mysteries still surrounding its colossal monuments and its esoteric rites.

Tags: Ancient Egypt, Turin, history, archeology