The tomb of Pennut

The tomb of Pennut dates to the Twentieth Dynasty, and specifically to the reign of Ramses VI (± 1143-1136 BC.) : the cartouches of the Pharaoh are carved on the walls of the chapel (). It is now on the shore of Lake Nasser, on the site of the new Amada. Pennut was chief priest of the temple of Horus of Aniba (ancient Miam) , where his wife was a singer. The chapel consists of a rectangular room with a niche that contained three statues. The burial shaft, which descended from the middle of the room, remained behind during the moving of the monument.

Much of the decoration of the tomb has disappeared today. This present (abbreviated) description of lost areas rests on the plates of Lepsius, made in 1844.

The salvage of the chapel

1) -Original Location

The tomb was located on the site of Aniba and excavated into the south side of a sandstone hill. It was reached by a short ramp that preceded a court 7.5 x 2.5m in size. The facade included a niche, probably for a stele.

The chapel alone was saved ( from Porter & Moss). It consists of a room carved into the rock, 5.9 × 2.7m in base area and 1.9m high. The entrance is approximately in the middle of the south wall, which thus defines two wings, west (on the left, ) and east (on the right, ).

2) - Present location

The construction of the Aswan High Dam in the early 60s, was accompanied by the creation of Lake Nasser which submerged Lower Nubia, the "country of Wawat". As part of the major international campaign to rescue the Nubian monuments, the tomb of Pennut was saved because of its historical importance and the quality of its decorations. It was transported in 1964 from Aniba to the site of the new Amada and reconstructed near the temples of Amada and Derr ()

The tomb was looted long ago, but the decorations of the chapel were almost intact in 1851-1852, as shown by the calotypes made by Felix Teynard. Steindorff still found reliefs in good condition in 1906. But today, the chapel is disfigured by the loss of at least half of the decoration, including almost all of the lower registers, the entry door jambs of the niche, and a large area of ​​the eastern part of the southern wall… We have to rely for these areas on the plates of Lepsius.

historical context

After the glorious reign of Ramses III, Dynasty XX gradually loses control of the country. The reigns of Ramses IV and Ramses V bring their share of scandals, thefts and increases in corruption. Lawlessness and insecurity, linked to increasingly regular incursions of Libyan nomads, lead to a position of general impoverishment.
Things keep getting worse under Ramesses VI. The loss of Egyptian influence in Asia continues: the eastern border of the country recedes back from Syro-Palestine to the edge of the Delta.
By contrast, Nubia, or at least Lower Nubia remains under Egyptian control and one recognises a viceroy of it named Siesis (or Sa-aset).

For the record, there are four Nubian Horuses, three of which are related to activity in fortresses since the Middle Kingdom:

Horus of Miam. Aniba, opposite the Kasr Ibrim, was an important administrative centre of Lower Nubia, whose Horus temple dates back to the Middle Kingdom. The cult of Horus of Miam was not limited to his city: like all other Horus it was venerated throughout Nubia.

Horus of Baki is in connection with the fortress of Quban which controlled the routes for gold and was very important for Egypt.

Horus of Buhen, an important fortress opposite Wadi Halfa (2nd cataract).

Horus of Meha, that is to say Abu Simbel. He is very prominent in the small temple of Queen Nefertari there.

Pennut, his family and his ancestors

Pennut (pA-n-njwt = one of the city ") bears the title, repeated many times, of "jdnw n Wawat", "Deputy of Wawat" ("Delegate", "Lieutenant") . Pennut was also "Head of the quarries" and "High priest of the temple of Horus of Aniba.". So, Pennut is responsible for the quarries of Wawat and responsible for property management of the temple of Horus of Miam.

His father was called Herunefer; he is "Priest of…"

His wife Takha was a "singer in the temple of Horus of Aniba".

The father of Takha is listed in the tomb entry, it is Patjaumedimontu, "wab priest, drawer of outlines".

Three sons are named: Hekanakht "his son, his beloved, the chief scribe of the Treasury of the Viceroy". Herunefer "his son, his beloved, the scribe" and a second Herunefer "his son, his beloved, the wab priest".

There is also an unnamed grandson.

Many other persons, often anonymous, are present, they are mostly ancestors of Pennut and perhaps of Takha. In total, no fewer than 56 persons are represented in this room.

General appearance of the chapel

Here is the description of Burckhardt, dating from 1813:
"About two miles distance from the river is an insulated hill, composed of sand-stone, in which a small sepulchral chamber has been formed, seven paces in length, three in breadth, and five feet and a half in height, with a sepulchral excavation in the centre; adjoining to it is a smaller chamber, in the bottom of which is a bust placed between two seats, destined probably for mummies. The sides of the principal chamber are covered with paintings, the colours of which are as well preserved as those in the tombs of the kings at Thebes, though they are not so well executed (…) "

According to Teynard, "The sculptures are crude though very pleasing; they stand out against a white background, the figures and the flesh is painted brown with lots of green in the flowers, and in the ornaments: the entire decoration is very harmonious in its colours".

The chapel is oriented north-south by the compass, its entry faces towards the Nile and the city of Aniba, and not according to the symbolic east-west axis. This scenario is common, but it is usually compensated for by a distribution of scenes according to the nominal orientation, which is not the case with the scenery in Pennut’s tomb where it follows the compass orientation.

The walls are divided into two registers 0.60m high. The two registers are separated by a strip of text that matches invocation offerings of the type "Hetep di nesu".

The style, with the succession of images separated by columns of text, and the scenes of a wall overflowing onto another, is typically Ramesside. In the tombs of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the system of representation is "iconic" with canonically defined topics: the funeral, the funeral meal, pilgrimages to some holy cities, hunting and fishing scenes, etc. The characters are often large, sometimes even "heroic" size. These themes are replaced in the Ramesside era with more varied scenes (often less well made), which are in the funerary world, forming a succession of vignettes generally borrowed from the Book of the Dead (BoD). The desire to explain them results in an abundant text, at times predominant in relation to the image, which then serves a merely illustrative purpose. In Pennut’s tomb there is the harmonious combination of vignettes with subjects of average size, text, and larger persons reminiscent of ancient times..

The entry

Only the left (west) side of the entrance has preserved its decoration (). It shows Pennut and Takha, facing the entrance, arms raised, worshiping the sun, a very classic ramesside theme. On the opposite side would have been found a hymn to Atum and Osiris.

South wall

1) - South wall - west side

As we can see almost all of the lower register, dedicated to funerary rites has disappeared, except for the extreme left.

Upper register

In the first scene (at far left on the plate) the deceased enters the tomb. The inscription that accompanies it, written from right to left, is titled "Formula for coming forth by day as a living Ba" : we have here both the entrance and the exit evoked.
The second scene is the traditional weighing of the heart in relation to the chapters125 and 30 of the Book of the Dead (). The deceased and his wife come forward through an open door, arms raised toward the scales (, ). Anubis adjusts the steel-yard. "The devourer", a hybrid monster awaits its prey in vain as always, since the scales are balanced. Thoth, who in the role of master scribe is always ibis-headed, records the favourable outcome (). The scene continues on the west wall with their introduction before Osiris.

Lower register

A procession enters the chapel from the outside. It consists of three men and six women, who, in making mourning gestures, all turn to the west. There, at the foot of the Western mountain, the mummy in its sarcophagus was stood upright at the entrance of the tomb, with a mourner at his feet (probably his wife) in the act of lamenting. Three priests officiate: a sem-priest makes a libation, the second officiant holds lotus flowers and a jar, the third is a lector priest who recites the formulas of the ritual of opening the mouth (details of this ritual can be found ). Some of these formulas are given in the text above the scenes, which also includes the names and/or functions of the participants.

2) - South wall - east side

This area has suffered severely when compared to . This area has suffered severely when compared to pl Lepsius-230c. The large central inscription is a copy of a legal text. It includes the cartouches of Ramesses VI and that of Queen Nefertari. By that text, Pennut donated goods for the maintenance of the worship of a statue of Ramesses VI he had erected in a temple Aniba (probably the Temple of Horus). The lands are divided into five plots which are carefully delineated the four cardinal points. Thus the name of the queen is mentioned is because one of the plots adjoins a field she owned. Then follows a formula of damnation - in which Amun and Khonsu are involved - against those who do not respect the arrangement presented.

In the upper register, the text is flanked on one side by the Theban triad Amon - Mut - Khonsu, and the other by Ptah and Thoth. They all serve as guarantor for the regularity of the maintenance.
Finally, the composition combines elements belonging to a stele. The representations of the gods, who often are at the top, are moved for lack of space there to the sides of the inscription.

In the register underneath is found beneath the divine triad, Pennut and the "Supervisor of the granaries, Penre"; the latter is responsible for ensuring the proper implementation of the statue’s maintenance.

Under Ptah and Thoth, two women are visible, which belong to a scene located on the east wall.

The gift of the statue and the management of its worship reflect the privileged status of Pennut and are a source of prestige, like the authorization to represent his sovereign in his tomb.
Pennut plans to continue to benefit from this status in the afterlife, since the legal deed of gift, engraved on the walls remain visible to all visitors of the chapel and to the gods named in the tomb.

West wall

Both registers contain texts and vignettes from the Book of the Dead.

1) -Upper register

The first scene

This continues the weighing of the heart (Chapter 125 of the BoD) where Pennut with Takha, both justified, are presented to Osiris by Horus-son-of-Isis ().
Osiris is seated on a cube shaped throne placed in a shrine whose door is open. Before him is a large open lotus flower, symbol of regeneration, from which emerge the Four Sons of Horus ( ; more details are in on this subject), the whole visually summarizing the transformation of the deceased from an incorruptible mummy into an Osiris. Behind Osiris stand the two goddesses Isis and Nephthys who protect him.

The second scene

It is, according Fitzenreiter, the next logical step (?) after Chapter 125. This is a part of Chapter 151 of the BoD (), showing the completion of the mummy by Anubis in the divine tent, a guarantee of corporal preservation. The mummy is guarded by the two Great Mourners, Isis and Nephthys.

2) - Lower register

First scene

Pennut adores the mummified solar deities summarizing three states of the sun: Re-Horakhty, in all his power as the sun; Atum, the setting sun and Khepri, the young sun reborn. The deceased, whose destiny is linked to that of the sun, can therefore leave his tomb during the day to go out upon the earth and rejoin his tomb at night to undergo the same transformations as the nocturnal sun. The representation fits well with the surrounding context of renewal in the solar cult of the Ramesside period.

Second scene

This shows the couple advancing, arms raised, before the text of Chapter 110 of BoD written from right to left. This text promises a supply of agricultural produce, overburdened offering tables, freedom of movement on all paths, and before all the gods. The vignette on the right brings together and summarizes several iconic representations of life in the hereafter.