Now let's continue our visit with the content on the east wall, to the right of the entrance.
This wall is reserved primarily for the funeral scenes, only interrupted by a second banqueting scene, which is much less developed than that of the west wall.
Like the west wall, this wall is in the main divided into three registers.
At the top of the east wall, as found on the west wall opposite, a long inscription painted but non engraved :
"Offerings which the king gives to Nekhbet, mistress of Nekheb, Osiris in Nekhen and Anubis in the necropolis. May he give them all good and pure things, provisions by the thousand, incense by the thousand, ointments by the thousand, and all good and pure things. May they receive everything which the sky covers and which the land produces, or which Hapi brings, for the Ka of […] Justified, born of prince Sobekhotep, Justified, and of the mistress of the house, Ahmose".
Before dealing with the major detail of the wall, the banqueting scene and the image of the couple who supervise it will be dealt with.
The scene begins immediately to the right of the doorway to the small room (), which is now walled up.
The seated couple are
"Hereditary prince Sobekhotep, Justified" and
"his wife, mistress of the house, Ahmose, Justified", which identifies them as the parents of Renni, ( and : These represent the same scene photographed under different conditions).
The couple are represented in a design similar enough to their counterparts on the west wall, but here the woman doesn't hold a flower and she holds her husband in both arms. Under the chair only a fan is represented (handle at the top). In front of them is an offering table over-laden with meats, breads, vegetables, etc. In front of this, represented much smaller, one register high, is a son by the name of Djehutymes,
"His son, scribe and butcher in the temple", who presents them with a choice cut of meat : the right foreleg of an ox, the Khepesh (). Below him, again one register high, is probably another son of whom very little survives. This whole scene is the height of two registers, separated from the following funerary scenes by a vertical line.
The banquet is also represented in a part of the third register, below the couple delineated by the vertical line, but passing beyond it (about half as much again) slightly toward the right but again terminated by a vertical line. While taking into account the missing section, it must have contained eight guests making two groups of four facing each other and which appear to have been alternatively male and female. Each is seated on a comfortable chair on a mat in front of individual offering tables (on which only the men have meat) : these represent characters of importance, relatives very close to the nomarch. Represented beneath Renni's grandparents and also facing right (), is his son, Sobekhotep, and a daughter whose name has not survived. The first of this group of four facing left (after the missing section of wall) is Renni himself, clearly named :
"his eldest son, the Prince Renni" (). The name of Renni is also belongs to one the females
"his daughter, Renni", who is therefore a sister of our male Renni. She can be seen at far right, just before the vertical termination line ().
Having fulfilled his obligations with regard to his family, the remainder of the wall is dedicated exclusively to Renni. The funeral scenes which are represented here are of great interest because of their originality, their good conservation of colour and, according to me, their quality of production.
It is necessary to start from the other end of the wall, close to the entrance doorway, and to follow the progression of the scenes, which are displayed on three registers.
The beginning is lost. The first thing which can still be identified is a large sledge, at the front of which is a sem-priest clothed in his ritual panther skin. Behind him, is a representation of a chapel of Lower Egypt with a rounded roof (Per nu), in which a woman stands turned towards the rear and in front of her is a very damaged figure, probably Renni, leaning forward and probably worshipping the barque of which only a part of the prow is still visible. Griffith proposes to see there, the solar barque approaching the chapel.
The whole thing must be very heavy, and an attendant pours water on the ground in front of the sledge, on which a layer of Nile silt was probably placed to help it slide (), while others help by hauling it with a rope. Some libations are also made. The text tells of the action :
"He pours water and milk for the prince for his passage" and later the comment :
"the sledge passes".
On the other side of a fracture in the rock, three dancers (a man between two woman) sing while keeping rhythm to the song with their arms. In front of them a man, who also holds the rope for hauling the sledge, guides the oxen by the horns from which it is attached (). Above the chanters, a partial inscription informs us that the words are
"sung by people of Pe and people of Dep". The remainder of the text is very difficult to understand in order to propose a consistent translation. Adolf Erman suggested reading there, in part :
"their hearts are happy, your shepherd and your master is one who goes into the earth on this day".
In front of the draught animals and appearing to welcome the whole group, are found three Muu dancers, the first of which is badly damaged ( and ). Their representation is characteristic, with their very high headgear of plaited reeds and their attitude with a raised leg and the pointing index fingers. The significance of this dance remains a mystery, but the topic has been well covered by Greg Reeder (see bibliography). It is interesting to compare this representation with that of who will become a governor after Renni.
Then come two porters carrying a large yellow-brown chest, which rests on what looks like a red bed or couch shaped in the form of a lion (). It has two udjat-eyes on its side, and it is quite probable that it contained the canopic jars, which hold the deceased's viscera. Under the chest is a young woman, by the name of Djeret, with a strange hairstyle. Tylor proposes that the mourner is associated with Isis or Nephthys, but this association seems a little unconvincing to me.
Then comes a representation of the Tekenu ( and ), represented here almost in the form of a man, entirely hidden by (probably) an animal skin. The significance of this scene remains a topic of debate, the most frequent opinion being than it represents a virtual sacrifice, a hang-over from a very early tradition, where an authentic human sacrifice took place to accompany the deceased. This representation of the Tekenu is far from being constant in all tombs, a famous example being that of , in the upper register procession of the main south wall. At El Kab, similarly, will also use this representation.
The tekenu rests, as always, on a sledge pulled here by two men. In front of them, is the arrival in the necropolis, where the goddess of the west, holding in her hands the ankh-sign of life and a wsr-sceptre of power, welcomes the cortege (). The first character can be seen offering him homage with a libation of water. The accompanying inscriptions say :
" […] for you the mountain opens up on both sides, the mountain gives two hands to you. The Amentit rejoices in (your arrival) to the west" and
"entering in the secret chamber of the great palace".
At first sight, it would be possible to think that it is exclusively Osirian, because it starts with an evocation of the pilgrimage to Abydos, and ends in front of the statue of the Great God.
The scenes of navigation ( and )
The first boat, with its sail extended to take advantage of the north breeze, travelling back from Abydos, one of the holy cities of Osiris. It tows a barge, in which are represented, in a very unpolished manner,
"The Imakhu (= the blessed) of Osiris, Lord of the Beautiful West, the scribe Renni, Justified by the Great God and his mother Ahmose, Justified by Osiris". The two characters are seated under a dais supported by thin wooden columns. Then follows (which always seems odd) the actual navigation towards Abydos : the barge was very probably towed by the same boat, but this time with its sail folded, and travelling with the current. This pilgrimage, represented in numerous tombs, may not have been possible to accomplish by people when alive, but was important. Its representation was supplied here to magically perform this journey.
The ritual scenes. (, , )
After a small gap, caused by a fracture of the rock, the scene starts again with a very curious representation of a man seated on a jar, bearing a white disk on his head
and purified by libations of water made by two other characters (). The significance of the scene remains obscure. Tylor thought that it could refer to a substitute for the statue of Renni, having a dish on his head which serves to distribute the water and who was thus purified. Personally I think that the disk is a symbolisation of the full moon and that the purified character is the priest who will precede the main rituals. It is noticeable that the evocation of the moon, , is present in several names in the tomb, including, Ahmose, that of the mother and the great-grandmother of Renni.
After a vertical demarcation line, is a group of three squatting women, wailing and waving their hands as the procession passes. The following reasonably large gap doesn't allow the total number of women to be specified, but after it stands another mourner, bent forwards, with her hair falling in front of her face. They represent, according to the damaged text, the deceased's sisters.
These scenes of lament take place in front of the place where the preparation of the mummy is finished. Here, one is stretched out on a bed similar to that which served to transport the chest (). A priest proceeds with a libation or an application of ointment. Then follows the ceremony of the "Opening of the Mouth" on the upright mummy, which should return to him the use of his senses ( and ). Several details are non conventional : the priests should be sem-priests, with shaven heads and wearing the ritual panther skin. Ideally this ritual would have been accomplished by the eldest son of Renni.
The building ( and )
All of these items seen here must have existed in the actual building which is represented. Tylor proposes to see here Renni's house. It is also possible that it refers to a place of worship. It is constructed with six rooms, of which none open towards the outside. Under the archway are again represented two Muu dancers, recognisable to their headgear (). Next to the building is an oblong pond of water, edged with palms, shown in a curious perspective. At the side, the square space divided in 16 zones probably represents the irrigated areas. Above, two trees are probably a reminder of an Osirian story of regeneration, on the other hand the significance of the two obelisks remains obscure.
At the end the register, is the conclusion of the ritual scene.
Anubis waits for Renni under the representation of a chapel of Lower Egypt and, no doubt, goes on to lead him to Osiris-Khentimentyu, situated behind him.
As already seen, its left part is occupied by a banqueting scene.
The right-hand section consists in fact of a continuation of the funeral procession of first register, and more participants.
Found here firstly are some men, extremely well portrayed, designated as purification priests : Ahmose, Djabaemra and Djehuty. This is followed by a wide gap
at the end of which is recognised as, from remains, a chorus of chantresses. These are lead here by
"his very beloved wife in the place of his heart, Nehi". She is the one turned towards them and could be walking backwards (). The two following women, in the attitude of mourning, are respectively Djehutyhotep and Baba (lit.written "Ba, 2 times"). Their words must have been easily understood by their contemporaries, but they now remain obscure to us, because they make reference to a form of worship which is unknown to us.
Then comes an elder and friend, who leads this part of the funeral, who is quite bold, typically androgenic (). He is identified as
"his friend, Saumes". He is obviously a man of importance considering his imposing presence, his clothing and the honour which is bestowed on him. Next are four porters who transport a chest, supported by poles on their shoulders, which must have contained precious personal effects of the deceased and that will be buried with him. Alongside the box, is represented a young dancer.
In front of the porters is another mourner, a girl named Sataah, who leads the procession, but ahead of her another porter carries a box and a jar by means of a yoke across his shoulders.
Finally the scene concludes with the accumulation of products which will serve either in the ritual, or in the banquet () : provisions and seven jars probably containing the seven sacred ritual oils. The man who cuts the foreleg of the sacrificial ox is
"his brother, the scribe, the butcher of the temple" (). Some pieces of meat are already grilling on the fire, but it is certain that the thigh being cut is going to be presented (perhaps cooked) in front of the mummy of Renni.
On each side, three offering bearers face towards the inside of the niche.
East side (right) : , , .
West side (left) : , , .
Directly either side the opening is found an inscription, each of two lines :
On the east side (right) :
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris-Khentimentyu, lord of eternity, ruler of forever, to the gods who follow him (and to his majesty?), may he give invocatory offerings of bread, beer, meat, birds, linen and incense by the thousand, of pots of ointments and all good and pure things for the Ka of the hereditary Prince, chief of the priests, Renni, Justified". Underneath is found a representation of Renni seated in front of a table of offerings.
On the west side (left) :
"An offering which the king gives to Anubis in his mountain, who is in his bandages, lord of the sacred land (= the necropolis). May he give a good burial in old age, a going out and a coming in from the necropolis, the soft breath of the north for the Ka of the hereditary Prince among the divine following, Renni, Justified". Here again, underneath is found a representation of Renni seated in front of a table of offerings.
On the curved area above the entrance to the niche, the inscription ( and ) is especially interesting because it permits us to date the tomb with certainty, which is far from always being the case.
It shows two representations of the
"Hereditary Prince, the revered scribe, Renni, Justified" offering red vases to the cartouche of Pharaoh Djeser-Ka-Ra, that is to say Amenhotep I. The sovereign is qualified as
"The good God, Lord of the Two Lands" and
"Giver of life, eternally".
The ceiling has already been described as being flat and having the same checkerboard design as the main chamber, but without the image of the central wooden beam ().
Situated centrally at the rear are the remains of the statue of Renni, on a raised dais ( and ).
This has been deliberately, completely smashed, only the base and a portion of the back pillar survives.
On either side, on the back wall, is an udjat-eye and a representation of a reclining Anubis on the representation of the entry to the tomb.
These are devoted to ritual scenes carried out in this tomb, as in others, by the sons of Renni. These scenes are painted and not sculpted (except for some inscriptions). Their colour is beautifully preserved, even though their craftsmanship is not exceptional.
The two panels are surmounted by the hieroglyphic sign for the sky and are surrounded on their three sides by an Egyptian frieze, of alternating colourful rectangles.
The whole scene of the wall is centred towards the seated couple who represent
"the revered hereditary Prince, the scribe, Renni, justified, who renews life, revered lord, justified by the Great God, Lord of Abydos (= Osiris) " from the text in front of him. The text above the female declares her as
"his mother, Ahmose, justified by Osiris". Renni chose his mother instead of his wife for this role, yet essentially it is she who is sexually his in this context. She embraces her son with one arm while the other hand rests on his arm. Both are seated on a long couch resting on a thick mat. In front of them, is a well garnished offering table. Below the seat is a large pot made of veined alabaster, the nature of which we are ignorant.
Further beneath, are objects which the deceased considered as particularly useful for his life in the beyond, two baskets, a large wsr-necklace, two loincloths and what appears to correspond to two vases of precious essence, two chests of which one is made of ebony encrusted with ivory, and finally a curious unidentified object, evoking - the Aa18 hieroglyph of Gardiner (value "sA").
At the top, in front (right) of the offering table, is found the frequently found "placard" or offering table contents list, enumerated in vertical rectangles.
This is a rather reduced list, both in variety as well as in number : 22 types of offering with small quantities : 1 bread, two jars of wines, etc…
This can be compared with the lists found in the tombs of the fourth and fifth Dynasty, at Saqqara, which show up to 96 different types of offering. The quantities are also different, they are expressed in thousands. Several hypotheses could explain this change :
- the recent exit of the dominating Hyksos, the nomarchs not yet having recovered their status nor the wealth which they had during the Old Kingdom.
- the fact that the nomarch of El Kab was a character less close to the Pharaoh than when they were buried in Giza and Saqqara.
- a change in cult worship; the mentioned products would have been the those truly presented in the quantities indicated, at the time of the burial ceremony. This hypothesis seems most probable to me because their representation, being closer to the statue of Renni, would thus have been renewed for the eternity as an established fact.
The participants at the ceremony are sons of Renni. The name of the sem-priest is lost. Behind him, the person carrying the long scroll (a Book of the Dead ?) is Sen-Djehuty. Three other sons, Tchuni, Ahmose and Neferhotep, are knelt, one arm raised and the other striking the chest, in the typical attitude of the Henu ritual, rarely represented in the private tombs. It relates to the "Powers" of Pe and Nekhen (for more details ? ). The middle son has a lighter skin, and could be mistaken for a daughter, except for wearing the same attire as the other two and having a bare upper torso, and of course by being named as "son". The lighter skin may have been introduced purely to identify the presence of three sons. The final son, Nebmes, who stands behind the kneeling trio, looks at the couple but his body is turned in the opposite direction and carries what looks like a net.
Underneath, Djehuti-Ur makes the offering of a brazier from which springs a flame. He is followed by the Ahmose the sem-priest and finally by Paheri who holds a small scroll in his hand.
The scene is constructed almost to the same design as that of the east wall. The woman is partially erased but is also called Ahmose. Therefore, again, she is probably his mother. Under the seat, is a beautiful sealed vase, again of veined alabaster, but of a different shape. Renni stretches his hand towards a now invisible offering table. In front of him, at his feet, stands an anonymous young boy. On the other side of the table, and facing the couple, is Nebseny, kneeling and making an offering. He is followed of a sem-priest and another son carrying the large scroll, as seen before. They are followed, also as before, by the three kneeling sons performing the Henu ritual, Tchuni, Ahmose and Neferhotep, the middle son again has a lighter skin. Lastly, Nebmes with net (?) in hand, and appearing to be moving away (as on the other wall).
This time, the lower register does not contain an assortment of objects, as on the east wall. In the whole lower register can be found the ceremony of the
"Opening of the Mouth, in the House of Gold, for his statue, on this beautiful day" which seems to take place in front of the deceased's statue. The "House of the Gold" designates the place of the tomb where the sarcophagus rests, and the "beautiful day" is the one of the funeral.
Notice that on this register, no one wears the ritual white scarf worn across the chest.
The sem-priest who officiates is
"his son Nebseny". Behind him, Maay holds a libation vase; he is followed by Djehuty-nefer who brings the right foreleg of an ox, and then by another seemingly essential character, carrying a heart to the ceremony. It is more difficult to explain the offering carried by this following character: a heart; it could possibly be either the actual organ of the ox, or just a heart-shaped amulet, often found on the mummies.
After the fracture in the wall, six other sons, all anonymous (there is no text accompanying them) make various offerings.
So ends our visit of the tomb of Renni. This monument, even if it is not a major piece of work, it remain nevertheless very interesting as we have seen, and it is one of the only witnesses of this kind from the very beginning of the 18th Dynasty.