The tombs of Tanutamen and his mother Qalhata at el-Kurru, Sudan
Egypt and the Country of Kush (part of the present Sudan) always had very good relations since the first Dynasty. The commercial exchanges took place mainly northbound from the south and depended however on precious commodities: ebony, ivory, panther skins, incense, precious or semi-precious stones…
|Thanks to Raymond Betz
for the text and photos
Very early also, Nubian archers were used in the Egyptian army. They are represented in numerous Theban tombs. One such famous company of archers is in the Cairo Museum; it represents figurines coming from the tomb of Meketra. This type of "miniature model" was quite frequently found in the burials of the Middle Kingdom.
This is how, since the 6th Dynasty, we found traces of these expeditions, for example in the famous letter of Pepy II to Herkhuf.
Egypt controlled Nubia, especially in the New Kingdom, when Thutmosis I spread his influence down to the 5th cataract, indicated by the boundary rock inscription of Hagr el-Merwa (Arabic for 'rock of quartz') at Kurgus - 1500 B.C.). Egyptian settlements were established in Lower and Middle Nubia.
Thutmosis III founded the city of Napata (current Karima) at the foot of the Djebel Barkal. The Nubians remained under control of the Egyptians until around 1050 B.C.
Three centuries later, the 25th Dynasty brought to Egypt a different period, for at this time, it was the Kushite kings who dominated the country from the 4th cataract to the Mediterranean : Piankhy (or Piye) undertook during his reign (747-716 B.C.) the conquest of the divided Egypt. He reached Thebes quickly and pushed on towards the Delta.
Piankhy had three sons and six daughter (Dodson, 2004), of which one was called QALHATA. She married king Shabaka, successor to Piankhy on the throne of Egypt. Of their union were born several children of which Shabataka, who was the successor of Shabaka, as well as TANUTAMEN, who followed Shabataka and Taharqa on the thrones of Nubia and Egypt.
All the Nubian kings were buried in the necropolis of el-Kurru, situated 13 kilometres from the sacred mountain of the Gebel Barkal, with the exception of Taharqa, who was buried under a pyramid in the cemetery at Nuri near Napata (Lehner, 1997).
|from 'Denkmalher', by Lepsius.
Tombs of 9 kings and 14 queens of the Kushite Dynasty can be found at el-Kurru ( plan, according to Lepsius).
The existence of el-Kurru, is mentioned by Frederic Cailliaud (CAILLAUD 1826), curiously without however mentioning the archaeological site. It was Lepsius (LEPSIUS 1849) who made the first systematic survey of it. He numbered all pyramids from 1 to 24. He was followed in 1919 by Georges Reisner, who underestimated the importance of this cemetery (GASM EL SEED, 1985). It was necessary to wait for the work of Dows Dunham (DUNHAM, 1950) on the Kushite sites to have more details.
Why was this "Egyptian" necropolis actually in the Sudan ?
Today it is supposed that Piankhy was inspired by the pyramids when he lived in Egypt. It should be noted however that his tomb is closer, from an architectural view point, to private tombs of the New Kingdom rather than pyramids of the Old Kingdom. This could be for merely material reasons, sandstone being difficult to find in this region.
Today, the former necropolis of pyramids presents itself in the form of a series of mounds ( view 4744) well preserved, more or less (except for - view 4751 - Lepsius 1 - unknown king). Certain ones (of which those of Qalhata and Tanutamen) are represented by a simple mound of soil.
The site of el-Kurru can be visited (see aerial photo from the SFDAS – see bibliography) and two decorated tombs of the necropolis can today be entered, those of Qalhata and Tanutamen. These are the painted tombs, preserved unusually well, which are presented here.
Each of these tombs presents a simple and constant plan composed of a single descent of more or less equal length, sometimes covered with an vault, with an entry doorway and one or two funerary chambers. Modern vaults in mud brick have been erected above some descents ( view 4745).
|The following descriptions are going to frequently mention the Four Sons of Horus, it is therefore advisable to read this reference article before proceeding further.
The texts of the two tombs were only partially recorded by Gasm el Seed (see bibliography). It is these which are reproduced below. To our knowledge, none have been either transliterated or translated.
THE TOMB OF TANUTAMEN, KU 16
The following variants of the king's names are found in cartouches :
xwi-tAwi Hkn-... (?)
bA-kA-ra (Bakara) (Glorious Is The Soul Of Re)
tnwt-imn (Tanutamen, see left)
The tomb is of the traditional structure for the site of el-Kurru (see plan opposite).
The surface pyramid (Lepsius 4 - P&M 16), of which its only remains are some elements of the foundation, had to have occupied an area of about 8.25 square metres. It was probably constructed in sandstone. It was surrounded by a wall, also in sandstone, of which some blocks from the south wall have been found. There also exists some sandstone blocks from the north wall of the chapel, which was connected to the pyramid.
Consisting of 34 steps, the long descent ( view 4698) aligns with the chapel (east-west direction). A small landing precedes the first room (A), the antechamber, entered by a short arched passage down another single step. The antechamber measures 3.00 x 3.00 metres, with an almost flat ceiling. The walls are stuccoed and painted (see description below).
The funeral chamber (B), reached by two further steps, is much larger : 6.00 x 4.15 metres, with a slightly flattened arched ceiling. There is neither niche nor bench. The walls are also stuccoed and decorated (DUNHAM, 1950).
The walls have been whitened and the decoration achieved in a flat application of paint, the red artist guidelines are still very visible. No portion of the walls are sculpted.
Because of flooding and mud slides, the decor has been lost to a varying height, between 0.60m and 1.60m. The tomb had not been finished, some drawings and hieroglyphs having only been finished as outline sketches.
Certain colours did not withstand time, which is why numerous parts in black or in blue have today disappeared. It is especially true of some wigs, which originally were lapis lazuli in colour, such as the hair of the gods, and which is today white. The black of the eyes is especially badly preserved.
The general composition is simple, with welcoming scenes in the antechamber, and with more strictly funerary scenes in the burial chamber.
The complexion of the silhouettes obeys the strict classic Egyptian cannon (which the Egyptians of the time had nevertheless largely abandoned), with the skin of the men being dark red, and that of the women yellow, nearly the colour of straw. The outlining of the characters is achieved in yellow, and not in black, as one would have expected. Those of the hieroglyphs are in red.
Globally the quality of the representations is of average quality, which appears rigid and measured, far away from Theban past century representations. The large size of the characters is similar to what had been achieved for the sons of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings. But there, the lack of iconography, with few scenes, was however compensated for by a beautiful technical quality, which is lacking a little here.
This a rather small room, of which the ceiling, very slightly vaulted, is spangled with 5 pointed yellow stars on a dark-blue sky background (which today is white), the image of the nocturnal sky ( view 4674).
The walls will be dealt with in the following order : firstly with the south wall (left on entering), then the north wall (on the right), finally the rear west wall.
The north and south walls are divided into three parts. At the top and framed between two dark red bands is a line of large yellow hieroglyphs ( view 4669). The major part of the wall is occupied by the main scene, how much of this area is lost due to damage is unknown. Finally, there was certainly a border at the base, today extinct.
1) - South wall
At The top of the wall, the bordered frieze contains a hieroglyphic inscription which mentions the descent into the underworld.
In the middle main register of the wall can be seen the sovereign, accompanied on the right by Amseti and on the left by Qebehsenuef, two of the "Four sons of Horus", as a scene of "royal introduction". They not only make reference to the deceased's viscera (Amseti : mainly the liver, Qebehsenuef : intestines, Hapy : lungs and Duamutef : spleen or stomach), but also to his inner "ib" (which contains the internal organ of the heart).
For further details, consult the page especially dedicated to the " Four Sons of Horus".
Note that the Four sons of Horus are all here represented with human heads, whereas since the 20th Dynasty this was only true for one of them (Amseti) the other three were assigned heads of animals (falcon - Qebehsenuef , dog - Duamutef and baboon - Hapy).
a) - Amseti
The god's name, which permits his identification, is indicated to the right of his head.
He appears therefore here with a human head. He wears a tight fitting tunic/skirt, which was originally blue, with yellow "scales". A hooked beard partially covers his large Ousekh-necklace which, curiously, is attached to the bottom of the right sideburn of the wig, and the line of which forms a circle framing the face. Since the same thing is found for Qebehsenuef, it is necessary to see the artist's stylistic endeavour rather than a technical mistake.
The god holds in his left hand a was-sceptre, and in the right, he holds the hand of Tanutamen by which he welcomes him and leads him inside the tomb.
b) - The king
He is identified by his cartouche on a yellow base.
He wears the characteristic hairstyle of a Nubian sovereign : a gold diadem supporting two uraei. It indicates the double domination which he thus exercises, Nubia on the one hand, and Egypt on the other.
Around his neck is depicted a gold circular band to which is attached a head of a ram, which must be part of a larger pectoral plate, today unseen. The sovereign thus wishes it to be a reminder of his devotion to the god Amon, of whom it is one of the sacred animals - and of which the sanctuary of Djebel Barkal is close to the necropolis.
The sovereign's costume is different from the one of the Egyptian Pharaohs, notably by the way in which the fabric of the garment finish on the arms in the form of cuffs.
c) - Qebehsenuef
Identified by the hieroglyphs of his name, he is more than half destroyed. He stands behind the king (probably at his side, according to the rules of Egyptian perspective) and he also gives the king his hand. He also has a human head (whereas it could have been a head of a falcon), a hooked beard and is dressed like Amseti.
The frieze inscription mentions the descent to the underworld ( TEXT).
2) - North wall
The damage on this wall is more significant than that of the south wall.
The scene is in inverse symmetry to that of the south wall. Tanutamen is in presence of the two other children of Horus: Hapy is on the right and Duamutef is on the left. This time they lead the king toward the outside and the text of the frieze relates to the ascension to the heavens ( TEXT).
|Click on each of the three parts to enlarge
a) - Hapy : we can deduce that this is he, by the fact that Duamutef is on the left: the name of Hapy is no longer visible; the shape of his was-scepter, held in his hand, is only just visible.
b) - The king : he is clothed in the same costume as on the opposite wall, and his name is fully visible to his right. In the same view, the name of Duamutef (to the left of the king's head) is also legible.
c) - Duamutef is named on the right of his representation.
As on the south wall, the two gods hold the hands of Tanutamen and accompany him.
Note that on both walls, the king is in a less state of completion than the two accompanying gods, and, with the exception of his head, is almost totally still in outline.
3) - West wall
This is divided into two by the arched opening which leads to the second chamber. On the walls, to the left and right of the arch, can be found the representations of the two sisters of Osiris, Isis (his wife) and Nephthys (his mistress). The two sisters guard the entry of the most secret part of the tomb. Their presence promises the deceased that they will watch over him, as they watched over the dead body of their brother Osiris and brought back him back to life.
Isis is positioned on the left and Nephthys on the right; they are associated with the Children of Horus. They are represented similarly clothed, in a strapped dress and each holding two red strips of cloth in their hands, which make allusion to mummification. Arms and wrists are decorated with bracelets, and the neck with a necklace of several rows. They each wear on their head their name in hieroglyphic form. The yellow colour of their skin should be noted (as already mentioned), and the lack of the whole of the lower part of their bodies.
Left section : Isis
She has on her wig, drawn only in outline, the remains of a vulture. On her forehead is the head and at the rear is the tail of the same bird. It suggests her role of mother goddess (= hieroglyph "Mut" of the vulture), and which can also seen as the emblem worn by the Great Royal Wives and their relation the the goddess Mut.
The text inscribed in five columns located above the goddess, like the hieroglyphic emblem on her head, has only been completed in outline ( view 4673 and TEXT).
From right to left : "Words uttered by Isis : 'Oh Osiris, king, Tanutamen (in a cartouche) , justified; he passed the courthouse of Osiris; she brings him (not only the strips but also) the protection. ... ...'. ".
Note the remains of a wasp nest at the junction of the ceiling, just above the two left-hand columns of text. These are often found in the tombs, which invade throughout and destroy the decoration of some painted tombs.
Right section : Nephthys
The goddess was never officially a mother (even though most records attribute to her the motherhood of Anubis, conceived in an adulterous way with her brother Osiris). By this fact, unlike Isis, she doesn't have the right to wear the vulture emblem. Note the clumsy way in which her right arm has been rendered.
The text above Nephthys is in six columns, read from left to right ( view 4675 and TEXT). The content is similar to that of Isis, although content order is different. Tunutamen's cartouche, this time, appears towards the end of the text.
Again the hieroglyphs are only completed in outline, but this time the name symbol of Nephthys (on her head) has been partially completed in yellow and red.
Above the passage ( view 4674).
Note the four baboons in worship in front of the barque carrying the rising sun. These baboons can be found at the foot of the obelisks in Luxor : they are assumed the first worshippers of the solar disk. There is nothing random about the location of this scene. Tanutamen traverses via the opening beneath, as the solar disk; to rise every morning, to return each evening, reappearing daily.
This ceiling of this chamber is again of a flattened arch form, spangled with gold five pointed stars, distinctly larger than those of the previous chamber. Some of the blue background still exists, but even this has faded to light blue.
All of the walls are decorated with iconography inspired by the vignettes of chapters 27, 28 and 30 of the Book of the Dead.
1) - South wall (on the left when entering).
At the top of the wall is a frieze containing two lines of hieroglyphic text, to be read from left to right, and which both begin : "Words uttered : 'Oh Osiris, king, Tanutamen (in a cartouche) ". They contain formulae that the deceased can live without embarrassment for eternity. They end : "Tanutamen, justified".
In the main register underneath are two groups of funerary genii with animal or human heads, either side of a central catafalque ( view 4685 and view 4688). None of these are actually named, although some are distinguishable, one with a canine head with long muzzle and fairly short ears, for example. These are the genii of the hereafter : they always carry the was-sceptre and the ankh-sign of life in their hands. They can be very beneficial : they must be approached and their names must be known in order to cross into the beyond. Misfortune, on the other hand, would befall the deceased if they are not recognised !
Originally, these genii were divided into several sub-registers, in groups of five on the left and four on the right of the catafalque, but only the two upper groups of each side remain – the rest having disappeared due to the destructive conditions.
The vertical columns of hieroglyphs, above of the catafalque, refer to chapter 30A of the Book of the Dead. This is a spell to ensure that the deceased's heart does not oppose him in the afterlife. Note especially, to the right of the columns of text, the presence of a beautiful image of the heart scarab, which represents the rising sun ( view 4689).
The whole middle and lower part of the catafalque is lost, and only the protective frieze of uraei, which decorated the upper part of the structure, remains.
Nevertheless, thanks to other tombs, it is possible to reconstruct the missing part. This included a representation of a mummy resting in the centre of the structure, and surrounded by protective genii. More detail will be seen in the tomb of Qalhata.
2 - North wall (on the right when entering)
At the top is again, as on the south wall, a frieze of two lines of hieroglyphic text, this time to be read from right to left ( TEXT).
Upper line : "Words uttered : 'Oh Osiris, king, Tanutamen; she gave birth to you, your mother Nut ...' " (a reminder that: Osiris is the son of Nut and Geb). Reference is made here to the celestial vault seen inside the lids of coffins.
Lower line : "Words uttered : 'Oh Osiris, king, Tanutamen; she came came to you, your sister (or your wife) Isis' .".
"It is Isis who ensures : that your legs are not hindered, that you can circulate in the world of the beyond. She gives you the vital breath, which you can breathe.".
Each time, reference is made to the Osirian myth, which the deceased wishes to be applied to himself : firstly, his mother brings him into the world, then his sister/wife revives him.
Found on the register below are genii like those found on the south wall; distinguishable for example, in the second row down, in second position from the left hand side, a feminine character in white dress and the head of a cat, also a male character with the head of a crocodile and also canines ( view 4678).
One major difference to the wall south, is the presence here of a god who holds out the symbol of regeneration (the was-sceptre ) in direction of the mummy inside the catafalque. The upright head can still be observed inside the structure ( detail). The mummy almost certainly rested in a prone position on the lion-shaped bier (see the more complete scene from Qalhata's tomb, views 4717 and 4712).
Above of the catafalque, is an unfinished text; in fact it is only the first right hand column which is completed. Just identifiable is the tail of the lion (at the right hand side of the structure) which formed the shape of the mummy's bier ( view 4680).
A second set of genii fills the wall space between the rear of the catafalque and the west wall. Again they are not named. Noticeably among them is one with the head of an ibis, usually held in relation to the god Toth.
3) - West wall (at the rear)
This wall can be divided in three parts :
The upper register, the vaulted area at the top, includes the solar barque and accompanying groups.
The middle register includes two pictorial scenes, separated by two extended columns of hieroglyphs from the 25 columns below.
The bottom register contains 25 vertical columns of almost erased hieroglyphs.
The actual lower portion of the wall, is like all of the other walls, lost by the ravages of time, and its content is unknown.
a) - Upper register
This narrow, symmetrical scene has at its centre the representation of the solar bark. At either side are two apes (four in total) shown in adoration. These are followed in both cases by a jackal.
b) - Middle register, left side
• The king kneels on the left, in worship. In front of him is his heart (or ib) placed on a symbolic stand, which has the form of those which usually support the fetish symbols of the nomes (territorial administrative divisions of Egypt). The heart - ib can at this time (see the above mentioned article on the Four sons of Horus) represent the personality, the "me" of the deceased.
• To the right is his ba-bird ( view 4690) with a djed-pillar around its neck. It is perched on the entry of a tomb. Being the mobile element of the deceased, it is shown here in its capacity to exit during the day and to again return to the place of burial, to unite itself with the mummy.
• The characters on the right of the ba-bird are not named in the text; are they three (or two?) and do they relate to the otherworld; indeed they hold in their left hand the sign of life and in the right hand the was-sceptre. These could be genii, or persons of "skill" which are often found in the solar barque : "Hu" - the personification of speech, "Sai" - understanding and "Heka" - magic. These experts must perform their skills in order that Tanutamen is able to pass the tests.
Here, a brief general remark seems appropriate : the Egyptians (and the Sudanese) at this time were incapable of abstraction. It was necessary to give a tangible form to these concepts; it is from this that originates the profusion of divine images, which often seems to be an incomprehensible and contradictory jumble.
c) - Middle register, right side
On the left is found a very original mummiform character ( view 4677 detail). He is seated, like the ba-bird of the left hand side, on a funerary building. His image is overlapped by an outline of a solar disk, whose rays shoot downwards. In the circle can be recognised a part of the face on the one hand, but also a part of ankh-sign, which certainly rests on the bend of the knee. Is this the result of an unsuccessful artist, who would have liked to represent the sun above of the body, which he would thus have warmed by its rays ? Or is this the intended composition, which, if this is the case, would be without equivalent ?
The king advances from the right. He wears the nemes (an official headdress worn in place of a crown) and the royal kilt; he is represented with the ankh-sign of life and the was-sceptre.
In the middle, only just recognisable, is the heart - the ib; having almost disappeared.
This is a reference to chapter 27 of the Book of the Dead. This is the formula to prevent the deceased's heart being taken from him in the realm of the dead; which says :
"Oh you who take away the hearts, you who steal the viscera of the heart, you who make appear in the man's heart that which he did, even while he doesn't recognise himself due to what you did, greetings to you, masters of eternity, promoters of everlastingness! Do not remove from me this heart which is mine! Do not criticise this internal organ of my heart ! …"
d) - Lower register
Underneath, and also separating into two the middle register ( view 4691), is a set of 25 columns of hieroglyphs (which are very difficult to decipher) this time taking the text of chapter 28 of the Book of the Dead. The excerpt is certainly appropriate to the vignette; this is the formula to prevent the one who removes from the deceased the internal organ of his heart in land of the dead. Which says :
"Oh Lion, I am the weneb-flower – my abomination is that of slaughtering – this internal organ of my heart shall not be removed by those who fought in Heliopolis" (BARGUET 1967).
(NB: the weneb-flower, like the lotus, came out of the primordial waters; it is a golden flower, a symbol of that which is imperishable).
In several areas of the text can be recognised "the Osiris, the king" - and the cartouche of Tanutamen.
4) - East wall
This can be seen by turning round as if to leave the chamber.
The left and right hand sides of the entry archway carry the emblems of the four children of Horus whose heads are each represented at the top of a pole.
Amseti with a human head, Hapy with the head of a baboon, Qebehsenuef with the head of a falcon and Duamutef with the head of a canine; all wear wigs and face towards the entry.
Here, as elsewhere in the tomb, the decoration is unfinished : some of the faces are not coloured, the muzzle of Qebehsenuef protrudes into the wig of Hapy !
Above the passageway can be found the equivalent of the same section above archway in the antechamber, with the same scene of worship of the solar barque, however, here with a black canine at each extremity ( view 4750).
THE TOMB OF QALHATA, KU 5
Queen Qalhata was the sister and wife of the Pharaoh Shabaka, and the mother of Tanutamen, whose tomb has been described above.
Her tomb, numbered KU 5 is, together with that of her son, the best preserved of the necropolis. It is also very similar in decoration.
The surface pyramid must have covered a surface of about 7 square metres (Lepsius 21 - P&M 5), of which only the base remains.
In the same way, nothing remains of the surrounding wall and chapel, which was not preceded by a pylon ( see plan).
This tomb conforms to the traditional plan of the tombs of el-Kurru, including having two chambers, with the respective measurements 2.75 x 2.75m and 5.20 x 3.40m (KMT 2003). The descents lead to a small level area preceding an arched entry.
The first room has an almost flat ceiling and walls which were firstly stuccoed then painted. The second room, separated from the first by two steps, has a flattened vaulted ceiling. Off-centred southwards, is a pedestal which must have received a sarcophagus (not found).
The tomb is covered today by a double modern roof designed to protect the buried structures.
1) - South wall
In the centre of the wall Queen Qalhata is shown holding the hands, as with Tanutamen, of the children of Horus, who guide and watch over her.
Qalhata wears the golden headdress typical of the royal Kushite mothers of the 25th Dynasty. It represents a vulture which envelops her head entirely. It is still possible to see that the painter changed his mind about the positional level of the head of the bird. Her neck and wrists are decorated by a necklace and bracelets of gold. The queen is dressed of an ample dress of white linen, the sleeves extending fairly low on the forearms.
• To her right ( view 4705), Duamutef gives his hand to the deceased; he fills his role of psychopomp (i.e., the guider of souls to the afterlife). He is represented with a head of canine wearing a wig, a shendjit kilt (a short royal kilt of the Egyptians) and holding a was-sceptre. He is preceded by his emblem on the symbolic stand, on which he is represented as a whole canine.
• To her left ( view 4707), is Hapy with the head of a baboon. To the left of Hapy, can be seen his emblem.
2) - North wall
On the right of Queen Qalhata and holding her hand, is Qebehsenuef, with the head of falcon wearing a wig ( view 4703). On the left, is Amseti with a human head holding the queen's other hand ( view 4704). The emblem of Amseti is on his left, but it is a little difficult to identify.
As mentioned earlier, the chamber measures 5.20m long by 3.40m wide. It has a vaulted ceiling, preserving a good part of its blue colouration and spangled with gold five pointed stars ( view 4728).
1) - South wall
As with Tanutamen, the south wall is centred by a large image of the deceased spread on his stomach on a funerary bier, his head elevated.
These images are very interesting, because they can also be found in Abydos, in the Osirian rooms of the temple of Sethy I (19th Dynasty)
Here, and on the opposite wall, the images describe the different stages of the Osirian rebirth. Osiris is lying down but is also already standing up. The deceased is of course assimilated with the Great God.
Beneath his reclining body, can be seen the funerary furniture, the white crown of the royalty of Upper Egypt, the Atef crown more specific to Osiris, bows, clubs, a kilt, etc.
The bier or bed is even in the form of feline, of which the head, paws and tail can be seen. The whole thing stands on a dais, and the yellow paint used for the decoration assimilates well the place of the "golden room" which, in a tomb, represents the chamber where the sarcophagus is located.
This type of representation can be found later in the Osirian chapels on the roof of the temple at Dendera. This catafalque is in fact closer to the "divine pavilion" of the Osirian chapel n°3 at Dendera, which was the ancient "tent of purification" which proceeded the mummification.
Above of the catafalque are 16 small unobtrusive columns of text, the hieroglyphs only surviving in the form of their white "negatives".
Immediately to the left of the catafalque, a god holds a was-sceptre towards the Osiris - queen. It is surmounted with the ankh-sign of life ( view 4717 and view 4734).
To the left ( view 4716) and to the right ( composite image) of the catafalque, can be found the divinities already met with Tanutamen, but this time on grey background : a woman with the head of a lioness, a man with the head of a lion and a man with the head of a crocodile.
The two lines of text which run horizontally as an upper banner are not finished or are almost erased : the hieroglyphs can be distinguished even without having black outlines ( view 4718). They are again in the form of their white "negatives". The sentence mentioning the deceased's connection with Nut and Geb can still be read : "She spreads herself on you - your mother Nut - in her name of the sky (of Nut); she does this so that you turn into god".
The lower line of text mentions the words of Isis : "... his two legs, which must permit you to go and to come into the beyond".
2) - North wall
Again the cohorts of geniuses are present to right and to the left of a central image, making a mirror copy of the opposite wall ( view 4721 / view 4722 for the right and view 4726 / view 4725 for the left).
Again the deceased as Osiris, is found in a catafalque. This time it is topped by a frieze of erect uraei surmounting a coving. The mummy is covered with bandages and lying on her back, but still on a bed in the form of feline: the process of revival has not yet occurred.
Notice under the reclining deceased the presence of the (male) attributes of royalty: the crown with the two uraei, different types of sceptres, a flagellum, a bag with the sign of life, a shendjit-kilt (with 3 points), the hedj-club, etc., ( view 4724 and view 4733).
3) - Rear wall (west)
The top arched register contains the worship of the solar barque ( view 4719 and view 4720). This time the solar disk rests on the hieroglyphic sign of the horizon; two baboons are situated on either side in worship. Two characters are present in the barque, a masculine character and a feminine character. The feminine character could be the deceased (the flesh being lighter), accompanied by Horus.
As with Tanutamen, the main part of the wall is occupied by extensively unobtrusive columns of text, on a greenish blue background, and of which nothing survives (not even a translation, as has already be mentioned).
4) - East wall
This can be seen when turning around as if to leave the chamber. On either side of the entry archway can be found the two goddesses charged with leading the queen's mourning, as they lead that of their brother Osiris.
On the left, Isis (who wears her name in hieroglyphic form on her head) holds her hand to her head; she appears here as the divine mourner, after having taken care of the various funeral rituals; she leads the mourning.
On the right side of the passageway, one obviously finds Nephthys ( view 4730) who also leads the mourning.
It is difficult to say if the two goddesses are squatting or standing.
At the top, above the entry, can be found the usual scene of the worship of the solar barque ( view 4731) by the baboons.
|Original page by Thierry Benderitter
Original text and photographs by Raymond Betz
© OsirisNet 2007
- BARGUET 1967 : Le Livre des Morts des anciens Égyptiens, Paul Barguet, Éditions du Cerf, Paris 1967
- CAILLIAUD 1826 : Voyage à Méroé, au Fleuve Blanc, Frédéric Cailliaud, 4 volumes, Paris 1826.
- DODSON 2004: The complete Royal Families of ancient Egypt, Aidan Dodson et Dyan Hilton, Thames and Hudson, London 2004, p.236.
- DUNHAM 1950 : Royal Cemeteries of Kush - El Kurru, Dows Dunham, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1950).
- GASM EL SEED 1985 : La Tombe de Tanutamen à El Kurru (KU.16), Revue d’Egyptologie n°36, p.67-72, Ali Ahmed Gasm el Seed (1985).
- KMT, A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Volume 14, n°2, 2003, Sebastopol, California, USA, p.52.
- LEHNER 1997: The complete Pyramids, Mark Lehner, Thames and Hudson, London 1997, p.194.
- LEPSIUS 1849 : Denkmahler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, Carl Richard Lepsius, 12 volumes, Berlin 1849-1859 - text vol.V - p.254-255, plates vol.I, part II p.122-123
- PORTER & MOSS: Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings, Bertha Porter and Rosalind Moss, VII, Griffith Institute, Oxford 1995, p.195-198
REISNER 1921 : The Royal Family of Ethiopia, Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin 19, p.21-39 (1921)
- SFDAS : web site of the Section Française de la Direction des Antiquités of SUDAN.
The pyramid carrying the n°3 is the largest of the site; its owner is unknown. The tomb of Tanutamen carries the n°1 (covered descents); it is easily distinguished from the rest by its pyramid (square at the base of the protective roof). The tomb of Piankhi (or Piye) is on the left the great pyramid.