Saturday, February 7, 2015

Odd Carvings from Meidum

Figure 1 - Carvings from the Tomb of Nefermaat
     The carvings done in the mastaba tomb of a man named Nefermaat are very unusual. Nefermaat was the son of King Sneferu (4th Dynasty) and he was his father's Vizir (Prime Minister). His mastaba was built at Medium, right next to one of his father's pyramids.

Figure 2 - Three men on a boat
     The tomb featured carvings done in sunk relief and then filled with a paste made of gypsum and clay. The paste has, over the course of thousands of years, largely fallen out, leaving behind only the empty "holes" that were originally carved.

     The three blocks illustrated here show two heads of cattle (figure 1, top left and figure 3), a man herding cattle (figure 1, upper right) and three men on a boat (figure 1 bottom and figure 2). The cattle in figure 3 seems to be licking the leaves on a tree (I am not really sure if cattle actually do this.) All three of these blocks are now in Munich.

      These "reliefs" now seem to be almost unreal and I am not aware of any other occasion where this style of art work was used in ancient Egypt.

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