Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Relief Fragment from the Tomb of Montuemhat

Figure 1 - a Relief Fragment from Montuhotep's Tomb
     The Dynasty Twenty-Six tomb of Montuemhat is one of the largest and best known non-royal tombs at Thebes. Montuemhat was a priest of the Egyptian god Amun as well as the mayor of Thebes. His tomb was decorated in what is called an "archaizing" style. Many of the scenes in the tomb are done very much in the style of earlier times including the Old Kingdom and the Eighteenth Dynasty. The relief fragment pictured here (which is now in Munich) is believed to be from this funerary monument.

     The fragment shows the bottom of one one register and the upper portion of another register (figure 1). The significance of the scene in the lower register eludes me, although it may be part of the Mayor's funerary rites. The scene in the upper register (fig. 2) seems to be from the Opening of the Mouth ritual, specifically the the so-called "Sleeping of the Sem".

     In the "Sleeping of the Sem", the Kher-Heb, Am-Khent and Am-As priests enter the tomb where they find the Sem priest pretending to be asleep. The Sem, who appears to be wearing an animal skin of some sort, sits up as if awakened when the other priests enter and engages in a conversation the meaning of which is unclear to us. It is possible that the Sem here represents Osiris who has been brought back to life (?).

Figure 2 - the "Sleeping of the Sem" (?)
     The original exact location of this relief fragment in Montuemhat's tomb is not totally certain, although it seems possible that it was originally somewhere on the wall of the West portico of the tomb's first court (as other raised relief decorations are known to have been there when the tomb was first built).

No comments:

Post a Comment