The tomb dates back to the XIXth Dynasty, more precisely, the second part of the reign of Ramesses II (~ 1279 - 1213 BC). The owner, Neferrenpet or Kenro, was a high official as he bears the main title of
"Chief scribe of the Treasury of the estate of Amun-Re". He was responsible for secretarial and clerical work as well as ensuring the efficient operation of an administrative unit. He had to organize the supply of provisions for the religious services and for the officiating priesthood in the sanctuary.
Located among the southern tombs of the Khokha district (see , from Kampp), the entrance to this tomb is found in the south-east corner of a courtyard originally cut for the unfinished tomb of Nefermenu (TT365), from the time of Thutmosis III; this is located in the north wall facing that of TT178. The courtyard was also used for the entrance to the tomb of Nefersekheru (TT296), located in the west wall (southern end). Though both TT296 and TT178 are of the same period and come, by style, from the same workshop, TT178 is livelier and more individually organised and seems to belong to a slightly earlier stage.
The layout of the main rock-cut chambers in Kenro-Neferrenpet's 'eternal abode' is entirely in accordance with the practice current during the New Kingdom, in the reign of Ramesses II (XIX Dynasty, C. 1230 BC) : a roughly rectangular reception hall (Room A) serves a liturgical chapel (Room B), at the end of which (south, representing the ritual west) houses four rock-hewn statues in a niche carved out of the rock. An unusual feature of the tomb is that the decoration has been entirely finished, and the statues rough-hewn out of the living limestone have been carefully remodelled in stucco and then painted and ornamented.
The subterranean burial complex is entered by means of a 4.80m shaft, located in the south west corner of the second room. It is almost certain that only two of the chambers (I and II) are associated with the Kenro and his wife. The remainder of the interconnecting chambers and passages are more than likely a much later addition. Full details of the subterranean complex can be found at the end of this article.
Of the 105 sections of text, his name occurs in 95 of them. He is named 86 times as Kenro and only 19 times as Neferrenpet. Of these occurrences he occurs as Neferrenpet named Kenro (Nfr-rnpt Dd (w) n.f KnrA) 7 times and Kenro named Neferrenpet (KnrA Dd (w) n.f Nfr-rnpt) only 4 times. His name of Kenro is possibly foreign, Neferrenpet being his adopted court name.
Throughout, he will be referred to as Neferrenpet (as this was his official name), except where quoting actual text.
"Chief scribe of the treasury of the temple of Amun-Re", thus by the king's authority provisioning the services and the officiating priesthood in the sanctuary. A very high and responsible position. He is also named as
"Scribe of the divine offerings of the house of Amun".
His wife Mutemwia was always at his side: like nearly all the wives of high priestly officials, she was a
"Chantress of Amun". She was probably buried in the second, well finished burial chamber.
The names of Neferrenpet's relatives are recorded on the chapel walls and in inscriptions on the liturgical statues. Neferrenpet's father, Piay, was priest-purifier of Amun of Karnak, his mother was named Wiay.
Neferrenpet's chapel is completely finished : it exemplifies the consummate art of the Ramesside painters, and also an unusual refinement in the matching and planning of the motifs.
The decoration has been applied over a tempera applied over a coat of white plaster, particular care being taken with the header frieze (at the top of the major walls) as it is applied over a curved moulding (see ). The header frieze consists of alternating motifs of three khekeru, the head of Hathor, three more khekeru and the figure of Anubis accompanied by the eye of Horus (indicating abundance). The frieze runs right round the room in a continuous repetition of the cryptogram for life.
Although most wall surfaces in the two main chambers contain two picture registers, showing funerary scenes, etc., they occupy less than 50% in total of the wall height (see opposite).
At the top of each wall (with exception of the doorway between the two rooms and the statue niche at the far end of room B), above the top picture register, is the header frieze, a ladder (or Egyptian) band of coloured rectangles edged top and bottom by turquoise lines (see above).
Between the two picture registers is further large group of borders. At the top is further ladder band, followed by a broad yellow ochre band containing multicoloured hieroglyphic text, followed by another ladder band. These are separated from each other by a narrow white stripe, which also appears at the top and bottom of the group.
Under the lower picture register is yet another group of border stripes; ladder band, hieroglyphic inscription band and ladder band, again edged with white stripes. This group sits on top of a yellow then red broad stripe, edged and separated with thick black lines. These are separated from the floor by a 35-40cm high dado, originally painted white.
The picture registers, where necessary, extend round the corners, as do the decorative borders and frieze. Because of this, the ends of the picture registers occur at :
1) the sides of the entry doorway,
2) the sides of the doorway in room A to room B,
3) the sides of the doorway in room B to room A and
4) the south end of the east and west walls of room B.
These are terminated by a vertical ladder band, then a vertical dark blue border which rises up, over and down a red border stripe; the whole assembly being separated and edged with white lines (see above left).
Hathor's human face possesses cow's ears. She wears a heavy blue wig surrounding her face, held in place by two red hair bands and a red clasp, in the shape of a mastaba, on top of her head. The head surmounts a
nb-sign, the hieroglyph for
nbt = "mistress" or "lady") and finally the district sign. Hathor was mistress of the burial place or district.
Anubis reclines on his shrine with his tail hanging down behind. A large bandage wrapped around his neck sticks out far in front. The shrine, a red field with yellow above and at the sides, with inset blue panels, is topped with a yellow cornice. An udjat-eye hovers over the the body of the canine.
The three open khekeru (bound coloured bundles of reeds) have a red disk on top and a gold disk near the base.
There are slight differences, to this frieze, throughout the tomb.
In the tomb all the ceiling surfaces have been elaborately decorated. Each area has one or more central motifs (mainly geometric in style) providing eight different designs, four of which can be found in room A. The design areas are edged, and sub-divided by coloured borders and central text bands. Each ceiling will be described later, within the confines of the area to which it belongs.
The tomb has been spared from massive damage, which would have impaired the architecture. Fractures at the eastern end of the south wall of room A, have caused slippage of the decoration which extends to the full height of the wall (see ). The only other damage is on the eastern wall of room A and a smaller section on the west wall of the same room, both have been repair with cement mortar. However, damage to the lower part of the west wall of room A has resulted in losing a fair portion of the lower hieroglyphic text band.
None of the colour losses are due to damage caused by later users of the tomb, although the two rooms have suffered in this way, but in different ways. The blacks have faded in the first room, while the yellows have suffered in the second. In both chambers, the blues and turquoises have frequently turned towards black, noticeable in some cases of Anubis in the header frieze and the grapes of the ceiling decoration in the statue niche. Some of these crystalline colours have interacted with the background, resulting in the plaster becoming brittle and falling off; this is seen in the case of the dark blue of the god's wigs, neck-collars (see ). The ochre-yellow has shown the same effect, in the case of the Hathor cow, her feathers and the hieroglyphic text, from the east wall of room B (see ).
The superficial abrasions by later occupants become particularly apparent in the western area of room A. In room B the most noticeable damage is in the area of the access to the burial shaft. There is deliberate hammering out from some of the portal (
sbxt) scenes, where demons (and their names from the text) have been eliminated (see ). But unlike many other Theban tombs, the faces of the inhabitants were not disfigured, merely those of the seated statues.
Cement mortar was applied in modern times to the surrounding area of the burial shaft and the entrance facade. The installation of the protective gate (made too wide for the opening) has resulted in the loss of what remained of the right-most pair of the three columns of text on the left-hand side of the entrance facade.
The current condition of the architrave shows scarcely any recognisable traces of decoration.
From the photographic evidence of the 1920's, from the time before the restoration-work, the lintel showed the adoring married couple before Osiris on the left, next to the cartouches of Ramesses II. However, both cartouches are unambiguously located offset from the central axis, due the uneven widening of the entrance to take the over-sized gate. Cartouches are also found over the entrances of both other tombs of this courtyard: the Ramesside tomb TT296 of Nefersekheru and TT365 of Nefermenu from the time of Thutmosis III.
To left and right of the entrance, there were originally vertical columns of hieroglyphic text, of which only traces of the three to right and one to the left now exist. These contained the usual offering formulae to various gods (in the form "An offering which the king gives for…"). The gods identified are: from the left-hand side - only Isis; and from the right-hand side (left to right) - Amun-Re, Ptah-Sokar and Hathor.
The east and west walls of the entrance are, as usual for the time, the obligatory place for attaching the contrasting scenes of sun-worship (hymns to the sunrise and sunset) which in the Ramesside times relate to the worship of Re and Osiris (the sun god and the god of the deceased). In the case of Neferrenpet, however, these are replaced with the hymns to Re and Atum, thus the solar aspect is being praised.
In contrast to the remaining decoration of the tomb walls, which are executed in painted form (the other exception being the facade of the entrance to room B), those of the entrance thicknesses are in stucco relief, a procedure, which is frequently found in the post Amarna period tombs.
Both walls have suffered from the ravages of time, the eastern wall (above right) more than that of the west (above left).
On the eastern wall, Neferrenpet and Mutemwia face the outside in a gesture of greeting.
Neferrenpet, in contrast to his image on the facing wall, has a gotie-beard and an unlayered wig. His neck-collar has yellow, red and dark-blue stripes.
Mutemwia has a hip-length wig, perfume cone with lotuses and very wide yellow—red—blue—white flowered hair band. She is adorned with a gold linked neck-collar. In her lowered right hand, Mutemwia holds the Menit and three entwined papyrus stems.
Their garments are of smooth, white material, through which here and there the pink skin shows through. Highlighting with red lines for folds of pleats, etc., have been added.
The accompanying text is to the "Adoration of Re".
On the western wall, the couple are shown re-entering the tomb.
Neferrenpet is clearly represented taller than his spouse and has a much darker skin. He has both arms raised in adoration. His hair, this time is braided and falls over his shoulder.
Mutemwia stands behind him with her left arm raised. In the lowered right hand she holds a papyrus stem. Mutemwia's colourful head-band is knotted at the back of her head. She wears a red disk earring, which is partially covered by the long wig, which reaches down to her hips. A small contoured perfume cone sits on top of the wig.
Both wear heavily pleated and vibrant red coloured garments, blue-red-white neck-collars and golden bracelets.
Thin, red lines outline the profile and highlight the pleats of the garments. Mutemwia's sleeved garment is knotted under the breast. Neferrenpet's pleated garment is gathered, clearly to accentuated his stomach. The black wig, pupil and brow of Neferrenpet are completely lost.
The accompanying text is to the "Adoration of Atum".
The state of preservation is poor.
The approximately square ceiling area is surrounded by a striped border, typical of this tomb, with the colour sequence (from outside to inside) of white-blue-white-red-white-blue-white. This encloses the design area, sub-divided by a yellow inscribed band into two equal fields. These are each individually bordered by a coloured ladder-band.
The decoration is formed from rows of yellow spiralling ribbons alternating with rows of red disks whose blue-green centre is surrounded by a circle of white points. The centre of the individual spirals is dark-blue. The area between the decorations were original filled with blue-green rhombuses. The dark-blue and the blue-green are only found in traces.
The hieroglyphic text band runs, in column-form, from the door end towards room A. It contains the usual offering formulae (in the form
"An offering which the king gives for Osiris…").