This area was intended for the accommodation of the sarcophagus and the tomb-additions. The approx. 6.70m (entry to rear wall) by 7.50m (across) rectangular chamber, with an average height of over 2 metres, is somewhat irregular in form, as are also the four pillars (cut from the solid rock) and which stand irregularly in line. But the unevenness of the walls, pillars and ceiling was so skilfully used by the artists in the design, giving here a distinctive magic to this rock architecture. The unevenness is not shown in the annotated drawing below, but it is apparent in the seen at the top of the previous page.
It should be noted, as mentioned on the previous page, that throughout the following description references will be to the symbolic/religious/cultic orientation, with entry being made from the east and progressing to the west, the rear wall of the burial chamber.
With the ceiling of chamber being partially decorated with the spreading branches of a grapevine, as in the previous chamber, some parts of the upper walls reflect this. The south wall and the southern part of the east and west walls however conform to the usual convention, that of being topped with the khekher frieze. The decorated area beneath this is also, as usual, separated from the khekheru with an Egyptian frieze of coloured rectangles. The south wall is terminated at both ends by a vertical Egyptian frieze, another of which also exists where the south wall joins the east and west walls. The decoration of all the walls is bounded at the bottom by a white dado area, the two being separated by broad red (top) and ochre-yellow colour bands, edged in black.
In this chamber, Sennefer is accompanied by Meryt, who, as explained in the discussion about his wives, was in fact his sister (although several books do state "wife").
The decoration of the walls do not follow a fixed or chronological sequence. In fact on turning immediately left on entering the chamber, the scene is one of Sennefer and Meryt about to leave to netherworld. Thus it is best to deal with the walls in a sequence, starting with the symbolic south wall and progressing clockwise, finishing with the entry wall, that of the symbolic east.
The condition of this wall has suffered badly, with many large areas of the decoration missing.
The left two-thirds consist of the funerary procession, which is shown in three registers. The left-hand half of the lowest one is further sub-divided. Miraculously, Sennefer (on the extreme left and displayed to the full height of the display area) follows his own coffin, as seen in the left-hand portion of the procession, in (). The initial journey across the Nile, which would have happened almost immediately after his death, isn't included. Neither is his mummification, which would have taken place in an embalming tent on the western bank, taking anywhere between 40 and 70 days. After this, the funerary journey to the tomb would have begun. The front part of the procession can be seen in . The final (right) third of the wall is of Sennefer in front of Osiris.
The image of Sennefer
Starting at the extreme left end of the wall, Sennefer, of whom only the lower part remains, strides towards the west. He wears the same garments as in the previous chamber, and holds the sekhem-sceptre in his right hand. The text above and behind him states:
"Following of the dragging of the coffin by the Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified, in which he is to be buried in old age, favoured by his lord Amun. Everybody is known to me, the Mayor of the Southern City, the overseer of the granary of Amun, Sennefer, in his place of the justified.". So he is definitely represented here as dead.
The left half of the top register, in front of Sennefer, is almost all missing. However, enough remains to identify that it contained the pulling of the sarcophagus on its sledge by four oxen. The image of these beasts still remains immediately to the right of the large missing section (see ). At the far left is part of the sarcophagus assembly, with traces of the canopy, under which would have been the actual sarcophagus with the mummy, resting on a sledge.
Directly in front of the oxen, two men appear to be having a discussion, although no text accompanies this. In fact there is no accompanying text for any of the registers. At the front are several men carrying offerings. Two pairs carry large chests on the shoulders, whist the other pair each carry a smaller one. All six also carry offering in the free hands. On top of the chests are: pectorals, sandals, kilts, and various emblems (see and ), thus displaying the content. The items held in the hands are: fans, a headrest, strips of cloth, a bow and arrows, axes, and a sceptre and flail (Sennefer's symbols of rank). Two other men are at the very front carrying items of food.
It is quite certain that the second register started on the left with a couple on a boat with a canopy, travelling to the necropolis. These are almost certainly Sennefer and his wife (or he substitute, Sennefer's sister), In front of this are sleds bearing the divine figures and the canopic chest (see ). Among those being towed is the jackal-headed Anubis, whose upper torso and its black canine head (with long pointed ears) has actually survived, receiving incense offerings from a priest. As the lord of embalming, Anubis played a very important role in the funerary rites.
A little further, under the oxen of the register above, some of the men have reached a small kiosk, prossibly an alter of rest, where they may perhaps find refreshments (see ). On the far right are four sacrificial cattle and other food offerings (see and ). The cattle were possibly the oxen which pulled the sarcophagus.
A large rectangular hole is located directly in front of the four cattle carcasses. It is almost certain that this contained a magic brick, on top of which was a protective amulet. Three of these magic bricks are probably still in the walls. More information about these will be found when dealing with the central scene of the opposite wall. This area, which was originally sealed, was decorated as part of a pile of breads, etc.
The scenes of the lower register (see the lower part of the two images above, and the papyrus painting by J.C. based on imagery from other tombs, below) have been interpreted as the "Buto Burial". The left half has been subdivided into two smaller registers. This ancient ritual was supposedly performed for the predynastic rulers of the Delta, but Buto soon became no more than the symbolic ritual centre. Originally this was only a royal prerogative, but after the 4th Dynasty these rites were usurped by private people, and their real meaning was gradually lost.
The upper sub-register, starting at the left-hand side, begins with an image of Anubis reclining on the representation of a tomb. Next is a shrine and two characters, the right one of which holds aloft two feathers of truth, approaching another shrine.
The next scenes are in a poor condition, but from the knowledge gained from other tombs, they include three small craft with various male and female characters. In the middle of these, after first two of the craft, and still to be seen, is the figure of a man (possibly Sennefer) who is tilling a small representation of a field with a small hand-held plough or hoe (see ).
The right-most craft, which is in front of two standing figures, approaches a final shrine, at the other side of which is possibly the deceased, facing the oncoming procession.
At this point the register reverts to its single height (see lower part of ).
A figure passes under two base-to-base vases from which two wavy blue lines stream, which envelop him and represent water. This image appears twice under these streams of bright water, although in some other tombs this occurs three times.
Then there are two female mourners, of which the superimposed images seem to become only one. They stand behind a priest, who in turn stands in front of another shrine, the other side of which is the deceased, identified by the garments which he wears elsewhere. Next are two officiants with long staves, facing each other.
Next there are three porters pulling shrines. The two outer ones are on boats, with a female figure squatting at either side with their backs to the shrine (see ). The central shrine is situated on top of a bed shaped like a lion. All the men pull their shrine towards a facing officiant who reads the formulas on his unwound manuscript; this figure is almost entirely erased.
Returning left, to the lower sub-register, but this time starting from the right, is an altar in the shape of door, on which a man spreads his hands. Next are four narrow (two above two) altars, on one of which another man lowers his hand, possibly placing incense there. These altars possibly represent the four cardinal points.
Next is a more complex scene representing the regeneration of life, starting and ending with a strange looking object. The first, on the right and resting at the bottom of the sub-register, is a of a person wrapped in a skin, curled up on a stool. The image represents the deceased (or his internal organs) wrapped in a skin, and called a tekhenu. It is from this that he is going to be reborn.
At the other end there appears another, but this time at a higher level. It is a more common representation of a tekhenu, that of a white and black bull carcass, but usually shown with a human face. This is pictured above a woman who kneels below. She holds a vase in each hand which contain seeds; these seeds regenerate naturally by themselves when they are planted (see ).
Between the tekhenu, men are raising two obelisks (also symbols of resurrection) which have risen from the ground where drops of blood have fallen on the ground. The ancient Egyptian for the word "obelisk" is also tekhen or tekhenu (the plural form). Because of the total connection within this very common scene, could this be accidental?
Finally, at the left end of the sub-register, following an image of Sennefer to the resurrection scene, is a group of male and female dancers and singers. They appear in groups of two, the latter two men can be seen grasping hands, possibly a dance formation. The male dancers, who usually wear tall crowns (although not here), are the "muu"-dancers, identified as the ancient kings of Buto.
Missing from the journey is the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony, which would have taken place outside the tomb, after the arrival of the sarcophagus. The mummified deceased would have been placed erect and the function would have been carried out by a sem-priest.
Sennefer and Osiris
The final part of the wall, at the far right end, shows that the deceased has arrived in the "Hereafter". The scene occupies the full height of the display area. Sennefer and Meryt are making offerings and gestures of adoration before Osiris, the god of the dead, and Hathor, the mistress of the West. Unfortunately most of the scene is lost through damage, although the content can still be recognised, including the sistrum hanging from Meryt's arm. All of Hathor's image is missing with the exception of the sign for "west". This would have been on the goddess's head.
As can be seen of what remains of Osiris, his head, he wears the atef-crown, which consists of the white crown of Upper Egypt with an ostrich feather on either side (see ). In his hands can be seen the remains of the long was-sceptre, a crook and a flail, the symbols of power. It should be noted that the colour of his skin is green, indicating that here he is represented as the god of vegetation. This is important here, for he is effectively offering new life back to the deceased. Above Osiris and Hathor, on the ceiling, is the Nekhbet-vulture, which will be discussed later along with the rest of the ceiling.
Both Sennefer and Meryt are identified at the end of the text above them as usual. This text starts with an invocation to Osiris:
"He (Sennefer) adores Osiris, (eternal) sovereign and great god, Lord of Abydos, the noble chief who greatly satisfies the desire of the lord of the two lands… Sennefer, justified". The rest of the invocation is badly damaged.
The text in front of Osiris identifies him as:
"Khont-Amenty, great Unnefer in Abydos, great god, Lord of the sacred land, eternal sovereign"; and in front of the goddess, she is identified as:
"Hathor, who has dominion of the region of the West, mistress of the sky, sovereign of the sacred land".
From the entry of this chamber, the middle of this wall can be seen at the far end, in direct line between the pillars. The repaired hole, created by the break through from the chamber at the bottom of the shaft located in the north east corner of courtyard, is very visible. The actual date of the breakthrough is not known, but probably dates from well before modern times. This damage has nearly destroyed the images of Meryt, who stood behind the two seated figures of Sennefer, one facing to the cultic south, the other to the cultic north. From the distant view it would be easy to assume that the wall contains symmetric artistry. However, as can seen in the drawing below, this is not the case.
Like the previous south wall, this one continues with a khekher frieze design for two thirds of its length. On the northern third of the wall it is replaced by the descending grapevine (as can be seen in the drawing above). But, for some strange reason, the khekher frieze has two different designs. The two ends are of the same design as that of the south wall, however, the central section uses a much simpler form. This can can be change can be seen in the of the khekher frieze and the .
Left side: offerings for the deceased
Like the south wall, the decorated area of this part of the wall is edged on the left-hand side (which joins the south wall) and the top with the colourful Egyptian border, above which is the khekher frieze. The lower edge has below it, as with the other walls, the red and yellow bands and the undecorated dado area.
The wall is subdivided on the left into three registers, on which priests walk forwards to present the deceased with various items. On the top register, five of them carry one or two hes-vases (see ).
He, Sennefer, is seated on the right, with Meryt standing behind him. Separating the registers of priests from Sennefer is a table piled with offerings, in front of which (on the opposite side to Sennefer) is another priest who is portrayed on a larger scale than the others. From his panther skin attire he can be identified as a sem-priest. It should be noted that at the time when Virey documented this chamber, the sem-priest (now totally lost) and the bottom two registers did not have the damage which is now so evident, but the central damage affecting the two images of Meryt was present (see Virey's ).
Sennefer is seated on a chair with lion's feet, which in turn rest on a reed dais. He is dressed as seen elsewhere in a white kilt and semi-transparent over garments. The double heart emblem can be seen around his neck. He holds a folded cloth in his left hand and stretches out his right over the table of offerings. Meryt, who stands behind him, has her right arm around his shoulders and rests her left on his left upper arm. Hanging from her left arm and now only just visible at the edge of the damage, can be seen the sistrum, her preferred musical instrument. Under his chair is a small table on top of which stands a white box with black legs (see ). This box has a horizontal inscription:
"An offering which the king gives to Amun-Ra, king of the gods; that he may grant life, health, strength, in the presence of the Lord of the two lands, to the ka of Mayor Sennefer, justified". This is typical of a box containing a game of Senet, the lid acting as the gaming board. This is frequently found portrayed as being played in other tombs, for example, . The opponent is always invisible and if the deceased should win then the grant will be fulfilled.
The offering table is filled with flowers, vegetables, grapes and meat. The caption reads:
"Making an offering, twice purified, for the Mayor of the city, Sennefer, justified". This double purification is carried out by the sem-priest from a vessel, out of which flow two streams of water. The section of wall which contained the priest is now totally lost, possibly to a private collection judging by the fact the lost area has almost straight edges and right-angle corners. Under the table, at the same side as the sem-priest, are two large vases. Around these wrap the stems of two flowers, one in bloom, the other in bud.
The uppermost of the three registers at the left-hand side contains five priests each carrying one or two hes-vases. The middle one, led by another sem-priest in a panther skin, holding a sensor in one hand and a hes-vase in the other, leads four more priests with the vases. The lower register has three priests (probably five originally) which hold in each hand a twisted stick, whose hooked head represents a head of snake. These sticks with the head of a snake symbolise magical powers one of which invokes regeneration.
Above Sennefer and Meryt is a multi-columned text:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, eternal sovereign. That he may give an invocation offering of, ox, poultry, all good and pure things, everything which decorated his table during every day, to the ka of the hereditary noble who is firm in favour, greatly beloved, trusted confidant of the lord of the Two Lands, favourite of the beautiful god, Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified. - His companion, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
An outlined white rectangle exists to the left of the columnar text, the reason is somewhat obscure.
Right side: offerings for the deceased
Immediately behind the previous image of Sennefer and Meryt is an almost duplicate image of the pair, facing towards the north wall. Again, Meryt is almost lost, although more actually survives than before, but this time the face of Sennefer is missing. They are dressed as in the other image with Sennefer seated on the same style chair and Meryt standing behind him. He still holds a folded piece of material, although this time in his right hand. In his left, which he has across his chest, he holds a sceptre. The text located between this and the offerings in the table in front of him states:
"United with all good and pure things". The items under the chair are different from before (see ), this time they are a mirror and a vase, possibly containing perfume.
The text above the couple reads:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, Lord of Busiris, great god, the great one in Abydos, to Anubis, foremost of the Divine Booth, great god among the gods. That they may give an invocation offering of ox, poultry, bread and all good and pure things, to the ka of the Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified. - His companion, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified.".
In front of Sennefer is the table with offerings (see ), piled higher than before and the content is different. This time it includes a collection of plants, flowers and vegetables, meats, grapes and other fruit. The text (which actually begins over the stern of one of the vessels in the top register of the "Voyage to Abydos" scene, to the right) says:
"A thousand breads, a thousand beverages, a thousand of all good and pure things, all offerings, all vegetables, for the ka of hereditary noble, uniquely loved by the people, favourite of Amun in his home, Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified.". A full view of the table can be seen in Virey's ). This time Sennefer's chair is positioned further away from the table, leaving room for items to be placed at either side of its single support. As before there are the two large vases around which wrap the stems of two flowers, but this time they are both in bud. These are placed either side of the support and beyond them are two lettuce plants, associated with the fertility god Min and symbolise the recovery of the reproductive capability of the deceased.
It should be noted the khekher frieze and Egyptian border only continues to the point immediately above Sennefer. From here, and also continuing on the north wall, this becomes an extension of the ceiling design of a grape arbour. However, on this west wall there is a difference; alternating with the bunches of grapes are open flowers.
Right side: the voyage to Abydos
Beyond, to the right of the table of offerings, the wall is divided into three registers. This time they are not related to the offering scene. They depict the "Voyage to Abydos". Abydos was the main cult centre of Osiris, the god of the dead. It was the wish of every Egyptian to be buried there and to participate in its mysteries and the rituals. Scenes of the voyage to Abydos became common in New Kingdom tombs and had become an integral part of the funerary rituals.
The upper register represents the outward journey, northwards, with the representation of the Nile being very apparent (see ). The cult barge carrying the couple (perhaps their statues) is being towed to Abydos by a boat propelled by oarsmen (see ). Even though the Nile flows slowly northwards, the prevailing wind is in the opposite direction, so a sail would not be applicable. On board, with the couple, who are situated under a canopy supported by decorated poles, is the pilot at the double rudder and a priest holding a libation vessel and presenting offerings to the deceased. The bow of the vessel is decorated with the eye of Osiris. The text inside the open cabin identifies the couple as Sennefer and Meryt. The inscription above the priest states:
"Twice purifying the offerings to the Osiris, (for) the Mayor, Sennefer".
At the front of the tug boat is the pilot who holds a long pole in his hand with which to test the depth of the water.
The long text above the tug boat describes the scene:
"Travelling north in peace towards Abydos, to the festival of Osiris, by the Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer. Coming to land at the temple of Osiris, that I may be in the following of the gods, and stride in the Neshemet barge together with the great god". The Neshmet barge was a boat belonging to the god Nun in which the god Osiris was transported on the river Nile during the Osiris festival.
The text in front of the pilot indicates the end of the northward journey:
"Mooring safely at Abydos, with the Mayor of Elephantine".
The middle register depicts the return journey. This time the tug boat has its sail open to aid the effort of its rowers (). The text says:
"Starboard to the west, carrying the mayor, the beloved of the people". Then
"Returning in safety [from Abydos, after celebrating the Festival of Osiris by] the Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer…… accompanying this august god, the Osiris…".
Very little of the towed barge remains, the structure of Sennefer's cabin is more or less lost. Only the rear support has survived, along with the head and name of Meryt, and the pilot holding the double rudder. The text above the rear of the vessel states:
"Returning doubly in peace, toward his place of justification, the Mayor Sennefer and the mistress of the house, Meryt".
The lower register is more or less destroyed, see the bottom register of the images above. This represents the final part of the return, after leaving the boats.
To the left there remains the heads of two characters and the upper torso of a third (see ). The accompanying text states:
"Making an encensement to the Osiris, Mayor…… Sennefer, justified, in peace. The deity is behind him (i.e. he has left Abydos)
, the Osiris, Mayor of the Southern City, overseer of the double granary of Amun, Sennefer, justified.".
In the area behind these three, at the far right, is the remains of what is probably Meryt under a canopy. It is probable that in this same area there were two such canopies, under the first of which was the seated Sennefer and under the second, Meryt, as stated. All that remains of that of Sennefer is part of his feet and the short column of text at top left:
"The Osiris, Mayor of the Southern City…".