Offering scene from Theban tomb painting - ROM2004_1312_3


Offering scene from Theban tomb painting

Medium:Tempera on gypsum plaster over clay plaster
Geography: Theban Tomb (TT181), el-Khokha, Luxor, Egypt
Date: c. 1390-1352 BC
Period: Reign of Amenhotep III, 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
28.5 x 25.4 x 6.5 cm
Object number: 968.201
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This colourful and charming piece dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, when many of the most beautiful tombs in Thebes were carved and painted.  This fragment of wall painting was once part of a scene of relatives bringing offerings to the tomb owner, the royal Sculptor, Ipuky, in Theban Tomb 181.

From notes made during a Metropolitan Museum of Art expedition to Theban Tomb 181 during the 1920s, the man in front is known to be Ipuky's son, and also a sculptor. He carried a large bouquet of papyrus and water lilies, of which only the gracefully painted blue water lilies remain.  The man to the left is the Doorkeeper of the Double Mansion, i.e. the palace.  The remains of his name suggest he bore the very popular name, Amenhotep.  In his left hand, he carries a large container of ointment or incense; the red colour suggests it is myrrh.  His right hand holds a formal bouquet of fragrant blue waterlilies with persea fruits.  Just behind Amenhotep’s shoulder can be seen the remains of a basket of deep blue grapes that were carried by the Lady of the House, Mutemwia.

The two young men are shown with perfect physiques and handsome, youthful faces.  They are dressed in elegantly wrapped white linen kilts and wear fine necklaces of faience and/or waterlily petals with other greenery. The flowers and ointment are not only gracious gifts for dead, but their sweet smell will mask any hint of decay.  The blue waterlilies, which rise from the water of the Nile to bloom in the light of day, closing again at night, also symbolize the rising of the deceased to go forth by day from his tomb.



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