domingo, 23 de julio de 2017

Tomb TT335 of the sculptor Nakhtamon

Tomb TT335 of the sculptor Nakhtamon was discovered by Bernard Bruyère on January 16th, 1925, just to the south of TT336, of his brother Neferrenpet and to the north of the one of his brother-in-law Qen, TT4. He is mentioned in both, as well as in TT217 of another of his brothers, Ipuy. Currently, the report of Bruyère, dating from years 1924-1925, in spite of its preliminary nature, constitutes the only source of information concerning the funerary complex detailed below.
This complex originally included a courtyard, a chapel and an underground system of chambers. It is especially this last which will be examined, because the three funeral chambers and their decoration are nearly intact. This typical example of the style known as monochrome painting is of exceptional quality and makes this tomb one of the jewels of Deir el-Medineh.
( source: website osirisnet. net)
Towards the right are represented the deceased Nakhtamon and his wife, "the mistress of the house, Nebuemsheset". They are shown in a very traditional style, although not in their usual dark and pale skin colours. They are seated on two chairs, side by side, the legs of which end in lion paws resting on small supporting cylindrical pillars. The artist created detail on the chairs, showing the cane-work as well as of mortise and tenon joints (see db-15-detail). The feet of the deceased couple and their chairs rest on a reed mat.
Nebuemsheset embraces her husband with both arms.
The picture of the couple is very beautiful (see ch-063-detail), showing a great amount of detail. The image of this young woman, clearly shows her long curly tripartite wig with twisted braids of hair extending much further than the main part. The wig is fastened at the top by a band from which projects, at the front, a lotus flower button. Her earring is positioned cleverly, and, whilst drawing the corner of her lips, the artist gave her a flicker of a smile, exceptional in Egyptian tomb paintings. This was the work of a true master artist. In contrast, the head of Nakhtamon seems almost awkward, too large, whereas the proportions are identical. Each of them wears on the top of their head the "cone of ointment", whose physical reality is questionable: it is rather a metaphor for fragrances and/or fat (certainly scented) used as hair gel (see JAS extract). The couple both wear ample garments. Nakhtamon wears a broad necklace and bracelets, whilst Nebuemsheset, who can be seen to wear a broader necklace, retains no evidence to indicate what adornments she wore on her arms. His right hand is folded on his chest, tightly holding the stem of a lotus blossom in full bloom, with the open corolla held up in front of his nostrils, a promise of rebirth. His left hand, is placed on his thigh, holding a folded piece of linen. His wife has her right hand on his right shoulder, her left (no longer visible) was probably holding on to his left upper arm.
In front of the couple, the ritual offerings are brought by the two eldest daughters, "Webkhet" and "Henutiamu", as well as by the teenage son, "Ankhau". The young ladies wear long wigs, on top of which again are placed the ointment cones, with a head-band from the front of which appears, for the first, an open lotus flower, for the second, a flower in button.
• Ubkhet, the first of the girls, holds a vase with both hands. This, which has a floral decoration, she holds in front of the faces of her parents. These vases, covered with a delicate painting, are almost specific to Deir el-Medineh. Clearly this is not about a vessel for the daily use, but intended for the funeral cult (an example exists in the Louvre museum). These vases would have been produced by the workers themselves on the occasion of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, a festival of rebirth, to which the workers were very attached.
The vase which Ubkhet holds is of this type: with a base formed by an open flowers rise stems, evoking germinating seedlings, which seem to be enclosed by a ribbon at their summit. This resembles the hieroglyphic sign (Gardiner M37). The artist had cleverly combined the symbolism of the vase with that of the lotus flower held by Nakhtamon, whose curved stem seems to combine with this floral vessel.
• Henutiamu, the second girl, raises her right hand in a sign of greeting, whilst hanging from her left hand is a vase with a long neck, probably intended for the libations.
• The young boy, Ankhau, also raises a hand, whilst in the other it is very difficult to identify the object he holds. It seems to be a bag, which contains round grains (see tb-242).

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