Saturday, June 9, 2012

Out in the daylight

A NUMBER of artefacts discovered at a tomb in Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank is to go on show for the first time in the Luxor National Museum, Nevine El-Aref reports.

After almost 10 years in storage at the Luxor antiquities inspectorate, the very distinguished ancient Egyptian objects will take their place in the permanent collection of the Luxor Museum. They were found in the tomb of Djehuty, the overseer of works at Thebes during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut.

The artefacts include the very well-preserved sarcophagus of a Middle Kingdom warrior named Iker, which means "the excellent one". The sarcophagus was found in the courtyard of Djehuty's tomb in 2007, along with five arrows made of reeds, three of them still feathered. These will also be included in the new exhibited collection.

Some clay vases and bouquets of dried flowers that were thrown inside the Djehuty tomb at his funeral are to be exhibited along with a faience necklaces, gilded earrings and bracelets.
Two clusters of ceramic vases, mostly bottles, with shapes typical of those fabricated during the reign of Tuthmosis III, will also be exhibited.
"These artefacts were carefully selected from the collection unearthed at Djehuty's tomb," said Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of state for antiquities.

Djehuty's tomb was discovered in 2003 by a Spanish-Egyptian archaeological mission. Their excavations revealed many new details about an unusual time in Egypt's ancient history.
The discovery of the tomb amazed Egyptologists and historians, not only because of its distinguished and unusual architectural design and decorative scenes, but also for the artefacts discovered within the corridors -- objects from different dynasties piled in the tomb to form a haphazard treasury.

The tomb walls are beautifully decorated with scenes featuring the annual pilgrimage to Abydos, hunting in the desert and in the marshes, and funerary rituals. One of the most interesting scenes shows a harpist with two singers standing behind him and with the lyrics of their song engraved above the figures. This scene shows the onset of the realistic style typical of the period, with the harpist depicted with a round fat belly and haunches. A painted wooden tablet showing the figures of the deceased nobleman and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III enjoying a day's duck hunting, their faces looking forward and not, as was usual in Pharaonic art, in profile, was also found.

Joseh Gal³n, head of the Spanish mission, described Djehuty as an important official who lived in the reign of Hatshepsut, but who died in the reign of Tuthmosis III. This would explain why the names of both pharaohs are written on the tomb, with Hatshepsut's name being slightly scratched. Djehuty would appear to have participated in the construction and decoration of most of Hatshepsut's monumental buildings in Thebes. Moreover, as overseer of the treasury and "controller of all the revenues coming from all foreign lands", he would have been responsible for registering all the exotic products, including minerals and spices, brought from the land of Punt as shown on his tomb walls.

"He was such an important official that he is even represented carrying out these activities on one of the walls of the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir Al-Bahari," Gal³n said.

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