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 South wall - west end 


Turning to the right on entering the transverse hall, the longer west wing is in view. The image area of the south wall, was again originally edged with a border of coloured rectangles. However, those of the left edge, at the side of the entry to the rear chamber, has been destroyed along with the some of the imagery at that end of the wall.
Above the top horizontal border is a frieze which is different to that of the khekeru of the east wing. This time it contains inverted lotus flowers (see th-swallw-02-ch), large open blooms alternating with closed buds, all being linked at the top by red loops. This frieze has been lost at the far right end.
What seems to constitute a simple decorative element is made of a powerful symbolic image, if only one knew the code to decipher it. The flower of lotus (blue) closes again every night underneath the water and is born again every morning with the sun: it rises from the water and blooms. Thus expressing in itself the deceased's desire to participate in the life of the star, day after day. And this frieze is not placed with cause on this wall: it is a powerful symbol of rebirth by the physical love on a wall which is entirely dedicated to this process.

As with all the walls of the transverse hall, the bottom was left undecorated to a height of about 0.6m.

The image area is divided into two registers, each having an image of the deceased and his wife seated on the left. The upper register is double the height of the bottom one.

  The "banqueting scene"
This is a major representation, which is never omitted in the tombs of the XVIIIth Dynasty (Manniche). A very strange banquet, where no one eats. There is drinking (and not of water!), but no one eats. The participants are all young, but there are no children (at least among the hosts, but there can be young maids, as here). The flower of the lotus is very often present, in the hands or in the wigs of the hosts, but also in the gifts which are given to them. The banquet is often associated with the "Beautiful Festival of the Valley" where Amon is seen to pass in front of the tombs of the necropolis to go to Deir el-Bahari, as is explicitly the case in this tomb.
The festival is under the patronage of Hathor, the goddess of joy, drunkenness and love. So, to reach the state which allows the liberation of the spirit and the unbridling of the senses, a lot must be drunk, to such an extent that one sometimes vomits.
It seems certain that to the wine was added psychotropic beverages, held in small vessels held by the maids (too small for them to be of wine and even less of beer).
Finally, an element always present, the cone of ointment on the heads of the guests. It is not known if these so-called cones made of solid fragrant grease were really used. Based on numerous authors, it seems more justifiable, for practical reasons, to consider that it represents a metaphor designating perfumes
And no festival banquet would be complete without music, so that one can have a "heru nefer", a happy day, which, for the Egyptians of that time, included some sexual intercourse ... destined to cause him to reemerge from his own works.

 
 

The top register

At the left side of the main register the large figures of Djeserkareseneb and his wife, Wadjrenpet, have almost been lost, with only a small part of Djeserka now remaining (see the photo above). Even at the time of the creation of the line drawings only part of the couple could still be seen. Compared with what has survived, only the lower parts of the chairs and the legs of Wadjrenpet were still present.
The text above them is mostly still visible today. His text reads: Sitting in a pavilion to enjoy himself, as he did when he was on earth, as counter of the corn in the granary of the divine offerings and temples [of Amun] which were under their administration, the steward of the second priest of [Amun], Djeserkareseneb, justified.".
Above the area where the figure of his wife sat, it reads: "His sister, mistress of the house, Wadj[renpet], justified, [....]", the end two columns being damaged.

In front of the seated couple is a festival bouquet, not the usual table of food.
Standing at the other side of this are two of his daughters. Although they appear to stand slightly one behind the other, they are probably standing side-by-side. The first, actually further away than the other, approaches him with a very colourful necklace and the other with bowl of wine. The first is identified by the text above her as "His beloved daughter, the mistress of the house, Nebtaui", the other is "His beloved daughter, Meryre". Thus the first, by her description, is married. The text continues with the words: "She says: 'For your ka. Have a happy day, the counter of the corn, in your mansion of justification, which you made for yourself in the region of the city.' ".
Note that for the first time, Djeserka is identified not just as a "counter of corn" but as "the counter of corn" using the hieroglyph . These words were obviously spoken by the latter of the two sisters, because in front of the first is the horizontal text: "Join a happy day, the counter of the corn of [Amun]", again using a definate "the".
The two sisters are dressed alike, each wearing a long dress and a headband with a lotus blossom at the front and an incense cone on top of their hair. Each wear arm bracelets around their wrists and upper arm, also they both have loose fitting arm bangles on their forearms. They also wear large round earrings and a broad necklace. All of this jewelry is of gold, although, the necklace of the rightmost daughter actually has colour within it. The top of their dresses are also represented as yellow, with a progressive transition toward the white as it descends. This type of "gradation", for which some have referred to as being caused by the impregnation of the fabric by the perfumes flowing from the wig, will be the norm in the Ramesside period. In each case the breast of the wearer is revealed.

The sub-registers

The rest of this register, behind the two daughters, is divided into two sub-registers. Between them they portray the musicians and guests who attend what appears to be a celebration for Djeserkareseneb and Wadjrenpet. Because no tables filled with food are shown, this is definitely not a feast. But what can be seen is plenty to drink. It is almost certain that the right-hand half of the bottom register of the wall is a continuation of the top sub-register, displaying the male guests at this celebration.

At the time when Davies created the line drawings, the right-hand ends of these registers were still intact. However, sometime after that, several images of the seated ladies and their attendants were stolen, leaving the now damaged area. These stolen pieces are discussed in more detail below, including photographs captured when they were in the Cairo museum, before appearing in several other countries in the 1980s; that is after they were apparently stolen again, this time from the Cairo museum.

 
THE STOLEN IMAGES

The following information and the five black/white photographs are based on the publication by Arpag Mekhitarian: "La misère des tombes thébaines" ("The deplorable state of the Theban tombs"), "Monumenta Aegyptiaca VI", Fondation égyptologique Reine Élisabeth, Bruxelles, 1994, p.1-16, pls.I-V.

The publication covers many images stolen from the walls of Theban tombs. The ones of interest here are those from TT38, the tomb of Djeserka. They come from the western end of the south wall, from the two upper sub-registers. They were removed after Davies had produced his line drawing for the publication covering this tomb. From the images below it is possible to see what went missing. The photo on the left shows the affected area of the wall in its present condition, whilst the line drawing shows what could be seen at the beginning of the 1900's. The line drawing has been modified to show they location of the two damaged areas, from where these images were taken, and the actual areas of the images included in the above mentioned publication. It should be noted that one image is still missing, that of the two ladies seated side-by-side at the very end of the upper sub-register. Perhaps this didn't survive the extraction from the wall.
By clicking on the coloured photo, an enlarged photo can be viewed. By clicking on one of the five selected areas of the line drawing, the appropriate black/white photo of what was removed can be seen.


According to Arpag Mekhitarian's article, these are photographs of the fragments from the Stoppelaere collection, taken in the Cairo Musuem, where - of course - the fragments must have been housed. However, this raises a serious problem, because they later appeared in the Kofler-Truniger collection in Lucerne, and also seen in Basel in 1978, and in Constance in 1983. The only possible explanation is that these and the others in the publication were stolen from the Cairo museum after the nineteen fifties!
 
 

The bottom sub-register

The bottom sub-register is the beginning of the scene, starting on the left with a company of musicians and singers. In total, there are eight, five standing at the front and three sitting cross-legged on mats, at the rear.


Click one of 3 areas to enlarge
Leading the musicians is a harpist, dressed in the same attire as the two daughters. Her companion, behind her, who dances while playing the lute, has lost the upper part of her body (compare with the line drawing opposite). She is naked except for a necklace, bangles and a girdle of beads around her hips. A young girl follows her, who also only wears the same minimum attire as the lute player. She seems to be singing and beating time with her hands on her body and also dancing. Another musician follows, playing a double pipe. Her upper torso is also missing (so again, see the line drawing for detail) and she would appear at first glance to also be almost naked, however, she is wearing an almost transparent loose fitting long dress. Whilst dancing, she turns her head to face the girl behind her. The fifth member of the musical group plays the lyre, and like the harp player at the front, she stands with her feet together. The lyre has a very curious shape, with a main harp shaped section, with only seven strings, and a square sound-box. The lyre player is dressed in the same fashion as the harp player at the front of the group.

Following the musicians are a group of three chantresses, who sit with their feet tucked under them and all of them wearing long dresses. They beat time with their hands and probably sing the chant which is written above their heads: "A holiday. Remembering the beauty [of Amun with] a joyful heart, raising praise to the height of heaven, even unto your face, each saying: 'Our desire is to see it!' Do you likewise, the counter of the corn [of Amun], every day."

At the right-hand end of the register, behind the chantresses, is seated the first of the guests. She is the first of six women, the rest being on the upper sub-register. The men, again six in total, are found at the right-hand side of the bottom register. Of this guest and her two attendants, only the serving girl immediately behind the chantresses and the lower legs of the other have survived, nothing remains of the actual guest. Once again, it is necessary to rely on the old line drawing in order to see what is now missing. This guest is holding a lotus blossom in her left hand and wearing her long dress, bangles and broad necklace, and an ointment cone on top of her long flowing hair-style. The chair on which she sits has short legs but a tall back-rest. She is attended by two female servants. The one immediately in front of her has the same minimum attire as some of the musicians, she tends to the well-being of the guests, probably applying oil to her skin and adjusting her hair and necklace. The other, immediately behind the chantresses, wears a long dress, usual for girls serving either food or, as is the case here, drinks.

The upper sub-register

It continues the sub-register below it. At the beginning of this sub-register is a large supply of drink, contained in four large vessels typical of the period. They are placed on stands and are beautifully decorated in red and blue with symbols of life (in one case this replaced by an image of vines) between either horizontal bands. The vessels and stands are draped with branches and clusters of grapes. Above (to understood as being nearby) three vases rest on supports. The two large ones situated right and left contain a white substance, on the left, and orange red for the other, with no indication as to their use. Maybe they are fragrant ointments which the maids applied on the guests. At the centre, the vase is damaged, but, from what remains, it was triangular in shape; its content is not visible.

Immediately to the right of the supplies are the five remaining female guests, the first being at the end of the sub-register below. Only the first of these five, together with her attendants, has survived. Fortunately, the others still existed when the line drawings were made. The female guests were all seated on low chairs with high back-rests. All of these guests are clothed in long dresses and adorned with a broad necklace and bangles, etc. It is worth noting here that it may appear that there are only four guests on this sub-register, but on closer inspection, there are two sitting side-by-side at the right-hand end.

The first guest on this sub-register is attended by two almost naked girls, thus they are attending to her bodily needs, not providing her with refreshments. The one closest to her adjusts her hair, whilst the second, standing behind her ( th-swallw-11b-db) holds another necklace (the guest actually already wears one) and a bunch of lotus blossoms. The next guest, now missing, is attended by one girl, in a long dress, who passes to her a tall vessel from which to drink. The guest turns her head to the one behind her, passing to her what may be a large date or fig. None of the final three female guests (remember that the final two are sitting together) have no girls attending them. Some of these attending girls could be young daughters of the Djeserka and his wife, but as not text is present this cannot be confirmed.

The bottom register

At the time at which the line drawings were produced (about 100 years ago) an image of the seated couple still existed at the left of the scene. In front of them was a table supported by a single pillar, with tall breads standing on it, draped in lotus blossoms; beneath are two tall vessels of wine, entwined by the stem of a lotus in bud. Unlike the registers above, here is a definite representation of a festival, one which can be identied by the reference made later to Djeser-Djeseru, which means Deir el-Bahari: it represents the "Beautiful Festival of the Valley". The text above the couple says: "All that comes forth before [.... for ....] Djeserkareseneb (and) his wife, mistress of the house, Wadjrenpet, justified."
In front, to the right of the table, is a small stand with a spouted vessel on top of it and another vessel under it, probably the same as the vessels under the other table. A single lotus bloom is draped over the top vessel. Originally one of the sons acted as an officiating priest (erased before the line drawings were made, probably by the fanatics followers of the Aton) stood in front of the couple and the two tables. The text which was placed above him remains: "[His son] Nebse[n]y says: 'A thousand loaves of bread and jugs of beer, oxen and fowl, a thousand flowers and perfumes, a thousand fabric and alabaster goods.' ".

Immediately to the right of the now missing son are four more men bringing items for Djeserka's feast. These are now also damaged, but no more than when the line drawings were made.
The first holds a tall and elaborate bouquet, the stems of which are decorated with various items. He is identified by a short text in front of him as the "scribe, Neferhebef".
The next carries a stand in front of his face, the contents of which are now lost, and from his right elbow hangs something which again is lost. He has no identifying text.
The third porter hold up a basket with his left hand, possibly laden with fruit, on top of which rests a bouquet of lotus blossoms. With his right hand he carries several other items, now damaged.
Finally, the porter identified as the "guardian of the depot of Amun, Nebenter", carries a tray of breads on his head, supported by his right hand, and a small bouquet, which rests on his shoulder, in his left hand. The column of text in front of him states: "He says: 'For your ka, a garland [of Amun], in Djeser-Djeseru' (i.e. 'the Holy of Holies', the temple of Deir el-Bahri)". This is where, once a year, the divine statue of Amon is returned to his temple of Karnak on the other bank. In the passage, it crossed the necropolis where relatives and friends had come to pay homage to their deceased and to join in a meal. Moreover, the deceased is also supposed to participate in the festivity by paying tribute to Amon, a wish often expressed in the texts, but absent in TT38.

The right-hand half of the sub-register is the conclusion of the celebration scene found in the two sub-registers above, and not part of the feast shown to the left.
This consists of the males who are part of the celebration. They are again six in number and they are only accompanied by one attendant, a man. He, wearing a kilt, stands in front of the group, to the left, and offers to the first guest a drink in a small vessel. All the male guests are seated on stools and all wear a simple kilt. They each wear a broad necklace and an incense cone on their head. The first guest holds a drooping lotus blossom in his left hand, whilst holding up his right one to accept the drink. The third and fourth guests hold their lotus blossom to their nose (it is now difficult to see that of the fourth man). The guest at the far right turns away from the others, and vomits into a tall wide necked vessel located behind his stool (the vomit is not easily seen today because of the fading of the wall). The man in front of him seeks to assistance him. This is obviously the result of excessive drinking and was probably not uncommon, as this is also seen in other tombs and sometimes involving female guests.
There are no accompanying texts to this scene of male guests.

 West wall 

Today there are no remains of any decoration on this wall and nothing was recorded at the time of the creation of the line drawings. But it is not beyond possibility that any decoration that was created was lost in antiquity.
A current view of the right hand side of the wall can be seen in the photo th-nwallw-02-ch, where it joins with the poor remains of the west side of the north wall.

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