The monument has been the object of a , in 2012, by Bram Calcoen (in collaboration with Christiane Müller-Hazenbos) ; the author's permission having been given for its use and who is greatly thanked. Being inspired by it and considering the tomb's interrelation, it appeared difficult to present the tomb of Amenemopet TT177 without also describing that of Userhat TT176.
Indeed, since the entry of Lise Manniche in 1972, it is known that the owner was called Userhat and not Amon-userhat; the name of Amon is in fact part of the deceased's titles.
TT176 is a small chapel constructed for Userhat, a ‘servant of Amun’. Userhat was a member of one of the lowest ranking groups of officials who had access to the minimum of wealth and influence which would enable them to obtain a tomb in the Theban necropolis. The decoration belongs, stylistically, firmly to the time not long before the Amarna Period, more specifically the reigns of Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV, a time which incidentally saw the beginning of the construction of tombs for those of more modest status, to add to those of the highest officials
The deceased had a relatively modest title:
"Servant of Amon" or a variant:
"Servant with pure hands",
"Excellent servant". It is therefore about an official of the huge administration which represented the domain of Amon. How this subordinate character successfully fitted into the house of eternity, will never be known. A few rare characters who carrying the same title are identified in the necropolis (essentially on funerary cones).
The tomb is dated from the reign of Thutmosis IV (c. 1400-1390 B.C.). It is located at the bottom of the hill of Khokha, also the small size of the tomb is compliant with this character's (Userhat) social status, at this time.
Because of the incompleteness of the decoration and the areas of destruction, no names of members of his family are available.
No trace of the funerary equipment has been discovered, nor any objects which can be assigned, with certainty, to Userhat.
The tomb includes a small entry corridor which leads into a transverse chamber, Facing the entry, in the opposite wall, is a very small longitudinal chamber, which has a niche in the rear wall (type IIa of Kampp). The real entry of the tomb is currently buried under rubble, as is also most of the common courtyard of the two tombs TT176 and TT177. The entry into the tomb of Userhat is currently made through the breach in its south wall, entering through the north wall of that of the tomb of Amenemopet.
The inner stone walls were smeared with a thick layer of course filler (about 30cm in thickness) then dressed with a thin plaster layer. The decoration, of which a very great part is lost, presents a good quality of execution, variable however according to the social status of the person represented. It was achieved almost entirely on white background. At the bottom of all walls, under the decoration, was placed a horizontal banner formed of two large bands, the upper one being yellow and the lower one of red, each bordered by black lines
This tomb, like the previous one (TT177), has the geographical north to the left when entered through its original entrance passageway, but ritually this should be the south, so that the deceased would progress to the west on entering his place of rest. This is actually indicated by the decoration on the walls, by which the Egyptians compensated for the chance of mis-orientation. However, in the following, the description will use the geographic orientation.
A reminder that the different walls will be examined based on the numbering which was given to them in the Porter & Moss (P&M) publication.
On the north side of the entrance passageway exists only the legs and feet, wearing sandals, of the owner. He held in one hand a long piece of cloth of which only the lower extremity can now be seen.
On the south side can be seen a text:
"An offering which the king gives to Amon-Re, Lord of the throne of the Two Lands, (and to) Mut, mistress of the sky. That they give life, prosperity, health, shrewdness in front of his Lord. For the ka of the servant of Amon, Userhat, whose life is renewed".
No photographs or line drawings are available of this entrance.
This is a slightly irregular shaped chamber, although almost rectangular.
This wall is actually situated at the ritual south. It includes four registers on the left section, the only part of the decoration which now exists.
This is almost destroyed today and cannot be seen in the photo opposite. It included a boat, which seemed to float in the air, with at least seven rowers and squatting passengers. It represents, in the usual manner, the barges of transportation and their passengers.
Two men, clothed in a short loincloth, carry a basket with the help of a wooden pole which rests on their shoulders. The basket is skilfully represented, with a design consisting of fine branches (in red) bound by plant ties (in green). The basket is filled, as far as possible, with stems of cereals. Below, on the right of the rear porter, can assumed to be the remains of an undergrowth of papyrus.
Here can be found an abridged version of the ritual journey to Abydos, the holy city of Osiris, in order to participate in the mysteries of the great god of the beyond. It is uncertain if this pilgrimage was effectively made by the living or if it was merely symbolic, but the fact of its representation retains it and renews it eternally.
The boat, identical in both cases, floating on a blue rectangle, which represents the Nile. It consists of a green hull, with a bow and stern which end in the shape of a papyrus umbel. This kind of boat must normally be pulled by another, absent here from lack of space.
The outward journey, from Thebes, consists of being carried by the northbound current of the river, which is represented on the lower of the two registers, where the boat has no sail.
The return journey is made southwards, which means that the sail was inflated by the wind from the north.
Inside a cabin on the deck is seated the deceased, alone. The seat has legs ending with lion's paws. The deceased has a shaven skull and is clothed in a short loincloth. He holds in his hand a stem of lotus, the symbol of rebirth, whose flower is in front of his nose, closed in his outward journey and open on his return. It is difficult to understand why the painter represented the deceased so small in the barque of the bottom register.
A disturbing detail is the absence of his wife, because she is normally, in principle, portrayed with the deceased in the scenes of this type. The decoration of the tomb doesn't represent a married name, but, as already seen, it is very incomplete.
This includes three registers.
This top register is empty, it didn't even receive its white background colour.
This next register includes the lower part only. On the left, Userhat was held supporting himself with a staff, whilst approaching him is a priest, clothed in a panther skin and followed by a carrier of offerings.
The same type of scene is found in this bottom register, much better preserved. Here, the participants stand on a braid surface. Userhat (or his statue?), with one foot forward, holds in his hand a long staff. In front of him stands a priest with a shaven head, dressed of a panther skin over his white under garment, who makes a libation of water with the help of a red vase with a blue edge to the neck. Behind him, another priest, also with the shaven skull but wearing only a white lower garment, makes a fumigation of incense.
On their right, these two registers are edged with a chain motif, black with a red central oval surrounded with white.
The blue hieroglyphs on a yellow background, located on the right, beyond the chain motif, belong to the entry of the second chamber, will be discussed later.
Here are found the fragmentary remains of four registers showing a banquet scene, with seated guests, handmaids and on the lower register are large jars on supports which maintain them vertically. The amount of damage today is such that the following description is based on the photos of Schott and .
All that remained of this was the bottom of two legs, positioned on the left (see upper part of ).
This shows, on the right, a man sitting on a chair; a young maid, clothed in a long transparent dress, leans towards him. Behind her, another maid holds a vessel containing something unknown, possibly an ointment?
On the right are two groups of kneeling women. The first group, on the left, are three and behind them are two. The second group is almost totally destroyed. The first woman of the first group holds in her hands two stems of lotus, the second stretches a hand towards a bowl full of fruits, the third holds a dish towards a small maid who stands in front of them. This maid carries two small vases (too small to contain wine and even less of beer). She empties the content of one of them into the dish that is presented towards her.
A young maid, in all aspects superimposable with the previous one, pours the content from one of her small vessels into the goblet which, this time, is held out to her by the first of the three men seated on a light-framed stool. They have the shaven skull and their left closed hand is placed on their thigh. Behind the maid, on the left side, can be seen a variety of large vessels, possibly containing wine or beer.
The "scene of the banquet" is a major representation, which is never omitted in the tombs of the 18th Dynasty (according to Manniche). A very strange banquet, centred around drink. Because, to reach the second state which permits the liberation of the mind and unbridling of the senses, one would drink a lot (and not of water!) ; sometimes until one vomits, but one wouldn't eat or only a little. It seems certain that to the goblet of wine were added psychotropic beverages, probably contained in the small vessels which the maids hold. The participants are all young people, but there are no children. The lotus flower is very present, both in the hands or in the wigs of the hosts, but also in the gifts which are made to them. The banquet is under the patronage of Hathor, the goddess of joy, drunkenness and love. Meaning to communicate the privileged living people with their deceased, the banquet is supposed to occur again every year at the time of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, which sees the god Amon visiting the tombs and temples of the west bank.
The whole left part of this wall disappeared when the opening of communication with tomb TT177 was cut in the 19th century. The rest of the wall includes fragments of three registers. The right-hand side of the three register display is bordered by a column of coloured rectangles (red, blue, white and green) separated by small white ones, all edged in black.
Only fragment of a woman's body have survived.
On the right are three large yellow and white vessels with double handles. These are arranged vertically on wooden stands. They are decorated with horizontal lines on the belly and the collar, and sealed with hemispherical plugs. They are surrounded with decorative leafy branches. A girl, wearing a garment which consists of only a belt of pearls, holds in one hand at least (and maybe in both), a fan. Behind her can just be seen the lower part of the legs of another girl, who stands with her back to the previous one, facing towards the left.
A couple, who remain anonymous because the columns above them, which should have received the text, remained empty, are seated on the right-hand side, turned towards the left. This could be Userhat and his wife, but nothing is less sure; the deceased's parents would also be able to benefit from this representation of choice. In front of them stands a table of offerings, over which a girl offers them some flowers. The comparison of the present state of the scene with the photo taken by Schott (see ) shows the irreparable damage due to the attempts of cutting areas out of the scenes.
The difference of complexion can be seen particularly well between the copper-coloured red of the man and the yellow of the women (a distinction which will have the tendency to disappear later in the 19th Dynasty). The wife is clothed in a white dress which takes an orange aspect in her upper part (whereas she doesn't have cone of ointment on her head, which would normally be blamed for the colour). Her black wig is curled, finished with wicks at the lower edge; around the top is a floral banner. She wears a broad necklace and wrist bracelets all of colourful pearls. She passes her right arm around her husband's shoulder whilst her other hand holds his forearm, a very classical attitude, which indicates the (sexual) role which she is going to play in the deceased's rebirth. The small bottle of perfume under her seat has the same logic. The man has the festive cone on top of his black wig. One of his hands, folded across his chest, holds a piece of folded material (?), the other rests open just above his thigh. He wears a short white kilt with a semi-transparent longer one over it. He also has a broad necklace, this is totally green. The couple sit on a black seat which rests on a reed mat, on which their naked feet also rest.
The young girl in front of the couple had a very finely drawn face, with a wig and a dress identical to that of the seated wife. In her right hand, which she holds out towards the couple, are three stems of open lotus flowers, a symbol of rebirth. Between the girl and the couple is a table of offerings, on which are placed breads and a bundle of onions. Against the single blue support of the table is a red vessel with a black and white lid, the stem of a lotus scrolls up and around the container.
The two partially legible columns of hieroglyphs state:
"[…] so that he grants you a beautiful advanced age in Thebes, joy in your heart and happiness, every day".
All that remains of this part of the east wall is a fragmentary scene showing the deceased seated in front of the two emergent arms of the goddess of the sycamore tree, who offer him some figs. Under the seat is a small monkey. Above the tree is what remains of the image of a man in a short kilt. The two columns of text, seen in the image, beyond the chain motif, belong to the entry of the second chamber.
It is not so much a chamber, because the place is very small. At the far end is a niche, which was created in the wall. The ceiling included a geometric motif, which is lost today.
At each side of the opening, in the middle of the east wall of the transverse chamber, the doorposts each include two columns of blue hieroglyphs on a yellow background. Part of this can be seen, in colour, on the right-hand side of east wall, north end (see ), the other side is available in a line drawing (see ). The texts represent fragments of commonplace prayers.
The northern two columns state, right (inner) column:
"… every eternity. The western lands fall silent when you cause the lands to go out and make live again for the ka of the deceased, the excellent servant…", left:
"… the lands. May he cause life, prosperity and health or the mighty transfigured the justified, [and may he cause him to] drink water on [the bank of the river] for the ka of the deceased, the excellent servant…".
The southern two columns state, left (inner) column:
"… Karnak, Hathor, she who is on top/above Thebes, may she give a voice offering of bread and beer, oxen and fowl (and) all beautiful and clean things for the ka of the servant, clean of hands… User[hat]…", right:
"… Khentiamentiu, may he grant the breathing of the sweet northern wind to the ka of the servant, clean of hands… User[hat]…".
On the central part of the lintel above the entrance there still exists a sketch of Anubis, the jackal.
This amounts to a rough sketch on the course filler base; even the white background colour had not been applied.
A priest, dressed of a panther skin over his white under garment, holding a censer, approaches of a man who is seated on a chair resting on a braid carpet. The chair again has legs ending in paws of a lion. Large vessels are placed on a wooden table which stands between the two men.
This scene looks a lot like the preceding one in the register above. Here, however, the priest doesn't hold a censer, but clutches one of the paws of his feline skin. This time, there are no large vessels of drink, but food (breads, fruits) which is placed on a monopodal table. On either side of the blue support of the table is a red vessel with a black and white lid, the stem of lotus scrolls up and around the containers.
This also includes three registers, of which the one at the top has almost disappeared. It showed a barque (probably funeral) on a sledge.
What remains of the middle register shows that a priest, with his panther skin garment, followed by a second, advance towards a seated man.
The bottom register consists of multiple piles of diverse provisions and several jars of wine and beer, as well as several lotus flowers. To the right is a priest who presents them to the deceased.
A niche is created in the wall, destined to contain the deceased's statue. It doesn't have any decoration.
On each side of the opening, is a framing formed by a column of text (left and right) on white background framed with a red border (which can be seen on the right of the image above, of the north wall). The text on the left states:
"[An offering which the king gives]… that he grants to breathe the soft wind for the ka of the servant of Amon, Userhat". Text on the right:
"An offering which the king gives to Anubis, Lord of the Sacred Land. That he grants life, prosperity, health, to the ka of the servant of Amon, Userhat". The lintel included two symmetrical images of the black jackal god, Anubis, accompanied by a short text.
To conclude, it should be noted that the new development achieved by the Service of the Antiquities placed the entry of the tombs at the far end of a real well. It can be certain that if the torrential rains which affected the Theban region in 1994 occur again, the water will penetrate into the chapels, at least into that of tomb TT177 (see )…