TT 41, the tomb of Amenemopet surnamed Ipy

Theban Tomb No. 41 is located between el-Khokha and Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, near the home of Davies (). It is of great theological importance, for it includes, besides the usual prayers and addresses to the gods, many texts of hymns, almost all of which have been published by Assmann.
The pictorial representations are however difficult to see, even after modern restoration and cleaning. The uninviting appearance of the monument says that it was abandoned for a long time.

One of the important points in the theme of the Ramesside tombs is the worship of the gods by different persons presented in the decor. The chapel is thus sanctified, becomes a place of pilgrimage and provides information on the closeness of the deceased with his gods. Besides this, the tomb continues to exercise its three traditional functions: a resting place for the body, where worship takes place and a place of remembrance. The dominant theme in the decor of this tomb is that of funerals: they are represented by three different versions that complement one another. Incidentally, many rites, although still included in the decor, had probably been no longer practiced for some time.

In the absence of any reference to a ruler, the tomb has been dated to the period of Horemheb - Seti I (1323-1279 ± dating by Ian Shaw.) on stylistic and architectural criteria, as well as the iconographic and epigraphic schemes.

History of the Tomb

Bankes travelled to Egypt from 1815 to 1819. It is not known if he visited the tomb, but he purchased the stone sarcophagus of Amenemopet and brought it back with him to England. It is currently in the garden of castle, in the Dorset.

Before 1821, Cailliaud visited the tomb and copied virtually all the now destroyed scenes, including scenes of making tomb equipment. Burton made exact copies with the help of a camera lucida (for details, see camera lucida in ).

Wilkinson in 1821-1833, Champollion in 1829, Rosellini in 1829, Prisse d'Avenne after 1830 and Lepsius in 1844, all copied some scenes and names. Between 1820 and 1920 massive destruction took place, as Davies noted in his notebooks. Cleaning work has shown that this destruction was due to use of the premises as stables as well as fires. However, in the Ptolemaic era two intrusive burials had already caused destruction of the decor.
 The 1920s saw the installation of a metal gate and the first restoration.

Under the auspices of the Ramessidische Beamtengräber in der Thebanischen Nekropole (Tombs of Ramesside officials in the Theban Necropolis), Jan Assmann led five campaigns of restoration and cleaning between 1979 and 1984 during which TT41 was studied and documented: "Das Grab des Amenemope (TT 41)", Theben III, Mainz 1991.
The tomb was then properly restored and opened to the public ().
The following presentation is based on the results of Assmann's work.

During these campaigns, small objects, ceramics and notably four coffins were found in two alcoves attached to the funeral shaft No 2. This shaft, whose entrance is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard, near the northern colonnade, was certainly a part from the beginning of the funeral complex. These burials - which are not usurpations - are contemporary, but their relationship linking the deceased to Amenemopet is unclear; the last burial took place shortly after the death of Amenemopet as from the reign of Ramses II, the coffins had changed their shape. Two of the coffins have names, "Lady of the House, Hel" and "Chief-Sena of Amun Nekhunefer"; this latter title, which roughly corresponds to "Head of the security service", is known from the 11th to the 26th Dynasty.


The plan of the TT 41 is a conventional type for the New Kingdom tombs at Thebes, one of a inverted "T", with a transverse hall crossing a longitudinal passage – a chapel ( and ). This basic layout, however, changes its emphasis between the time of Amenhotep III and that of Ramses II, when changes appear. Thus TT41 has a sunken courtyard () which was reached by a flight of thirteen steps to the east, now covered with wooden steps () ; in the time of Amenemopet, the court played an important ritual role. Columns and pillars existed in tombs of Kheruef (TT192), at Nefersekheru (TT107) and other officials at the time of Amenhotep III. At the same time, we should also mention the tomb TT57 of Khaemhat whose cross shaped chapel, has three niches with statues copied from those of Amenemopet. TT41 has probably served as a model for relatives tombs, as with TT23 (Tjay) or TT106 (Paser).

In these periods of innovation, one sees new structures: the "sloping passageway" (made by rotating its descent) associated with bent corridors. These developments are related to sacred funerary thinking and with establishing a relationship between the tomb and the path of the sun. In addition different parts of the tomb are now considered to belong to the underworld, "a rock tomb with access to the world of the hereafter," as Assmann said.
In this type of tomb, chapel halls are decorated, while underground corridors, annexes, and the sarcophagus room are not. This room was (as in other tombs) blocked by a stone wall that is still in place. Finally, note that some surface structures belonging to the monument may have disappeared.

Amenemopet and his family

Among the many titles of Amenemopet, those who appear most often are "royal scribe" and "Chief administrator of the domain of ​​Amun". This title is very important and it confers up to the Eighteenth Dynasty, as much influence as the vizier. Its importance decreases gradually during the rest of the Ramesside period but increases again afterwards.

His wife is Nedjmet "singer of Amun", a title usually held by wives of high officials. This function is performed only occasionally and these women have no fixed position in the temple.

The father of Amenemopet is called Nefertiu and bears the title "judge"; his mother, Iny, is a "singer of the Theban triad".

The courtyard of the tomb

A staircase leads to a sunken courtyard which measures 10.50 x 9.45 m (excluding pillars). Of the three aisles of pillars provided, only the southern, consisting of five Osirid pillars, was completed;

the northern one is partially completed () and the eastern one is in draft form. The west wall is that of the front of the tomb.
The court was definitely used for the practice of rites, which could well take place in the open air but still in privacy. Among these rites, there are the latter stages of the Ritual of the Opening of the Mouth, the Litanies of the Sun, but also "the rite of digging the earth," which is related to Sokar, and the incensing of a vegetable mummiform shape. The term "vegetable Osiris" refers to a clay mould, the shape of the god Osiris, which can appear as a flat plant growing surface ( and ) or as a small wooden box, as in Tutankhamun's tomb, and which evokes the mythical tree overlooking the tomb of Osiris. Sown in this earth, the green shoots that spring up are a magical aid for the resurrection of the God and the Deceased, since it has became an Osiris too.

The southern colonnade

The Osirid pillars on the south side are 1.90 m high and represent the deceased.
The first two are unfinished (); the pillars 3-5 are built on the usual Osirid pattern (): arms crossed on his chest, right hand clutching a Djed (duration, and stability, which have became an amulet) while the left hand holds a Isis knot (protective symbol). Under the crossed arms is a column of text that goes down to the feet.

a)- The third pillar

This is the best preserved and it retains some of its original colours (); on its back face, we see a few traces of black sketch. The inscription of the statue itself, like that of the fourth pillar proclaims that the deceased enjoys everything that comes from the offering table of Amun, that he will be a satisfied deceased and his name is beautiful and will last for eternity.

b)- The fourth pillar

This has on its side some traces of the clothing and feet of the seated deceased. Below, we recognize two upright standing mummies, placed thus for the performance of burial rites. To the far left a priest pours water into a container held by another kneeling priest (). Two couples are moving to the left, hands raised as is usual when praying. Before them, three kneeling priests make gestures of rejoicing. On the east and south faces, representations of the deceased are not visible. Finally below, we come down to the silhouettes of musicians and singers.

c)- The fifth pillar

In the inscription, which runs to the left around the fifth pillar, there is not just "the chief administrator of the estate, Amenemopet" who is cited, but also "his sister (= wife), Lady of the House and singer of Amun, Nodjmet" while in the inscription that runs to the right is "the Chief administrator of the estate, Ipy". The text of this statue reveals in more detail what the deceased would like from the altar of Amun: "... bread, beer, cattle, poultry, cloth for his clothes, incense and ointments, which the sky gives, that which the earth produces, that which the inundation brings into the light from its source.” On the south side of the pillar, one still recognizes the deceased adoring Osiris face to face. On the east side, we find him holding a sekhem sceptre; while below stands a harpist. On the west face there are remaining traces of a female garment.

d)- Above the five pillars

Up above an inscribed bandeaux runs with a formula of offerings for six gods, showing special attention to Osiris.

The north colonnade


This had to be built of sandstone, because the natural rock had not the required height. The work - which was careless - is original, as shown by the red marks of masons.
The face is in variable stages of completion (, east wall and a portion of the south colonnade). In the northern part, the front pillar is already partially smoothed, while in the southern the work is less advanced. cavetto mouldings and astragals are well executed.
 As we see the court, it is clear that the work was interrupted; the work resumed after the death of the owner, in the period before the funeral.

The wall behind the south colonnade

This carries quite well preserved paintings. They begin at the western end of the wall and end next to a rocky outcrop to the east. Note also that this wall has not been smoothed all the way down (: crossing behind the south colonnade, looking to the east).
Preparatory drawings in red are found everywhere. Inscriptions have not been completely added everywhere not have all been incorporated in the final phase of work. As written by Assmann, as this wall presents itself, it reads like a palimpsest.

The wall is surmounted by a frieze shaped floral garland made of blue flowers, limited by another yellow and red frieze. Below runs a wide red band, embedded with rectangles and divided by a horizontal blue green band. There follows a row of yellow circles and open red lotus flowers side by side. This palette of colours is found in the band that borders the scenes in the lower part of the wall.
 In the middle of the wall significant damage has made us lose a part of the decoration.

A- Main register

a)- Left (east)


The deceased, who walks towards the west, stands on the sign of the mountain (too wide) (, ); he wears a long pleated garment and sandals. In front and behind him, four people, placed one above the other, are making a lustration with a nemset vase, according to what is described in Scene 2 of the ritual of opening the mouth.

Before Amenemopet are four kneeling priests placed one above the other (). Behind him and slightly downwards, stands a golden pillar Djed-equipped with hands holding a stick and a piece of fabric.  A sem-priest is dressed in his characteristic panther skin, and with the hair sidelock of childhood, is standing in the classic attitude of recitation: his left hand holds a paw of the skin, while his right hand is raised, stretched forward and slightly bent. The corresponding text and the recipient are not mentioned (, ).

b)- Right

Another sem-priest purifies and burns incense over a well-stocked table of offerings dominated by a mounted bouquet. On the right there is another chapel, the door is open; it is surmounted by a hollowed cornice. It is likely that the deceased and his wife were sitting therein ().

B- Secondary registers


Below this main register, we find three smaller registers representing moments of the funeral ritual; we find scenes similar to those of the tomb of Rekhmire, TT100.

The top secondary register

On the far left under the pillar-Djed, there are two adjoining chapels; the water from nemset vases has the form of a string of red drops instead of the usual zigzag appearance (). LThe next two scenes form a whole and show the offerings made to the god of the dead, Anubis, considered the master of embalming, in charge of the transfiguration of the deceased. He is ritually preparing the corpse and helps the lector priest, he takes the role of Horus, son of Osiris, who assumes the role of his father.

A standing priest extends his hands over the coffin or a chest. Further to the right, another priest who is kneeling offers two vases in front two coffins. The largest of the coffins is shown with legs; it is edged with a double checkerboard pattern and topped with a frieze of khakerus (), a frieze that mimics the reeds or plant stems which featured in the decoration of the walls. Originally, we did not find these friezes in the royal domain, and then in the New Kingdom they are found in individual tombs. The scene ends with the representation of the Goddess of the West, looking to the left. This then closes with the ceremony of the boundary by driving posts into the ground (), followed by the voyage to Sais.

The river pilgrimage to Sais


This is represented in all the major epochs. The procession to Sais occupies considerable space in the tombs. It is to Sais that the livestock is taken that is sacrificed during the pilgrimage.

At the end of mummification, the mummy was placed in a cult papyrus boat where a lion-shaped bed stands on which the coffin reposes. In front and behind it, two priests lean towards it. Next comes a tall coffin (with hollow cornice and khakérus frieze) behind which these is a priest in a recitation position of the recitation. The third coffin is on a sleigh; two priests accompanying it, faces turned toward it while their bodies and feet point forward. They pull on the same rope in opposite directions.
 The last coffin is again on a papyrus boat and is hauled by three men; at the front and rear we find a man leaning towards it.  On the far right, the procession was greeted by a priest who lifts a vase up high ().

Secondary registers 2 and 3


On the top, there are two boats; the front one has a helm and a crew of three men: perhaps it hauls the second boat. In it are four priests with their typical order behind a coffin (?) covered with white and red braces. At the stern, a kneeling woman is in a position of worship position, while in the bow it is a man who is kneeling.

On the bottom, there is a tomb facade with hollow cornice; a priest carrying a haunch of beef goes towards it. To the right another priest advances. Eight men dressed in priest sashes bear on a sled a finely crafted coffin. Below appear three women making a ritual gesture of deference ().

The Magazines

Besides these three registers appears a set of magazines that were perhaps a part of the temple of Amun and that could well be related to the function of the deceased. Among the various products stored a stele with King Seti I in front of Amun (). is recognisable in the midst of copper bars, bags and elephant tusks. At the top and bottom, there are very fine palm form capitals and column bases, as well as a roof.

An empty space of three metres separates these scenes from the following. It continues to the start of a long procession which is divided into two parts, one which goes to the left, and the other to the right ().

At the far right (west) wall, the deceased and his wife sit before a sycamore tree (Ficus sycomorus) ()

see clearly the red fruits on green foliage. Above the deceased, their associated Ba birds, human-headed with a hawk body. Already in the Pyramid Texts the Ba bird is the "living soul". It leaves the body at death, but cohabits with it in its lifetime. The Ba is free to move, but rejoins the body at night. The modern name soul only captures a small part of the significance of this entity. The deceased is holding a container into which the water flows which the divine tree (barely visible on the left) has poured with a hes vase. The sycamore is related in funeral texts to the sunrise. Two turquoise sycamores frame the point of the eastern horizon where every day the sun rises. Hathor is often mentioned as Mistress of the Sycamore. However, the funerary texts more readily associate the sunrise with the sky goddess, Nut; Nut is also mentioned in the text accompanying the Goddess. The deceased and the power of his Ba are powered by Nut, and live under her protection forever. Nut provides protection, shade and food: "Take thee ... the bread to which you are entitled and fresh water that will delight your heart ..." said the goddess, and Amenemopet answers: "May you cause that my Ba lands on your foliage that it shelters in your shade, and drinks your water ( junction between the south and west walls).