The ceiling designs
It should be remembered that when looking up at the ceiling, compass orientation is mirrored. So that in the image of the ceiling opposite, although north is shown at the top, east (with the entry doorway) is at the left. The image was taken from the 3D virtual tour in order to be able to see the whole ceiling in one view, without the pillars. The one thing that becomes immediately obvious is the very irregular nature of the chamber itself, which is even more so than seen in the view from the 3D tour.
The total area is decorated with a mixture of carpet-like ceiling hangings and vine foliage, which also appears covering the ceiling of the antechamber. The carpet-like designs are four in total, all being geometric in nature. Two of the designs are used to a more limited degree than the others. The unevenness of the ceiling enhances the apparent drape as if hanging naturally (see carpets and ).
The four pillars appear to serve as supports for the yellow-ochre painted imitation wooden beams, from which the main carpet design hangs. This takes the form of two long lengths: the first being in the main central (east-west) aisle and most of the southern aisle, up to the point where the grape vine crosses it; the other being in the southern aisle, again up to the point where the grape vine commences. These have a rhombus pattern interrupted by zigzag lines, and has easily adapted to the contours of the uneven rock ceiling. Three of these "beams" contain texts (dealt with below), as can be seen from the image above, one contains the defacing graffiti of "Lorent 1842" and is located just above the north face of pillar 1. Jakob August Lorent was in Egypt studying plants during 1842-5, at which time he named and photographed eight new types of plants.
The rhombus pattern extends down the length of the central avenue, between the four pillars (east to west), and also along the major part of the southern wing (see right-hand side of ).
The carpeting between the entry wall and the first of north (right on entry) pillar has squares in different colours, running crosswise (see ).
Whilst between the pillars of this north side (at the top of the full ceiling image above) is a zigzag pattern in different colours (see ).
On the south side (left on entry), the carpeting between the entry wall and the first pillar and also between the two pillars, has chequered design of coloured squares with a "X" design in each, running crosswise (see left-hand side of ).
These are inscribes on three of the long yellow-ochre "beam" bands, each starting in the entry wall end of the ceiling. The locations can easily be seen in the full ceiling image, at the top of this page. Each band is edged (above and below) with either as or as . This edge decoration does not however always extend to the western end. All three are in the form of "offering" texts.
The main (and longest) text is on the central band of the main aisle and it extends the full length of the ceiling, from the entry to the far west wall. The inscription states:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, king of the living, sovereign lord of eternity; great in Dadu; great in Abydos; lord of forever, author of eternity, prince of the gods. That he gives the solid and liquid offerings, beef, poultry, and all good and pure things, everything that appears on his table during every day, for the ka of the noble mayor, stable in first position, great in affection, confidant of the Lord of the Two Lands, praised by the good god, Mayor of the Southern City (i.e. Thebes)
, Sennefer, justified by Osiris, the great god, the lord of eternity. That he [Osiris] revives the body in the Necropolis; [that he gives the ability to] go and come by the door of the passage (Rostau)
, to the Ka of the noble mayor whose favour is enduring in the royal household, who greatly fills the heart [of the king] in the Southern City, overseer of the gardens of Amun, Sennefer, justified."
The next is located at the pillar edge of the south aisle, again starting at the entry wall end, but only extending to the western end of the first pillar. The remainder of the yellow-ochre band is empty of text. The inscription reads:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, eternal sovereign; to Anubis, who is to the burial, who holds (?) the gods. That they may give everything which appears on his table during every day, for the ka of the noble mayor, divine father (?), beloved of God, who is in the heart of the good god."
This final text is against the south wall and, being slightly longer, it extends to opposite the mid point of the second pillar, stating :
"An offering which the king gives to Amun-Ra, Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands, to Mut-Sekhet, the Lady of Isheru, the Lady of the sky, Mistress of the Two Lands; to Anubis, [that is to him] the beginning of the divine abode; to the great god, lord in Abydos. That they may give the solid and liquid offerings, beef, poultry, and all good and pure things which gives a god life: [they that allow to] go out and come in to the Necropolis, to contemplate Ra, to breathe the sweet breath of the North."
The part of the ceiling decorated with the grape vine design is extremely uneven, particularly along the northern aisle, which is completely decorated as a grape vine arbour. This gives a feeling of reality, as if actually walking under such foliage. It is this design which gave the tomb its popular name of "The Tomb of Vines".
The vines, with their heavy dark grapes and red tendrals, start the south-west corner, from where they extend above the western aisle and continue above the northern aisle. The vine decoration even extends down on to the connecting walls and pillar surfaces, with a curvature making the transition. They appear to come from one single stem, which is rooted in the ground behind the image of Meryt (see ), standing in the southern scene of the north wall. But, the dense foliage indicates that several stems exist.
At the southern end of the west section, surrounded by vine foliage and bunches of grapes, the vulture-goddess Nekhbet extends her protective wings over Osiris (see ), who stands below her on the south wall (see right, opposite). In each of her claws she grasps a shen-ring. This image of Nekhbet is normally limited to royal tombs, so its presence here is fairly unique.
In the plan opposite, the pillars are displayed with symbolic west (the rear of the chamber) at the top and the south (the left-hand side of the chamber on entry) on the left. The thumbnail images have been numbered in a clockwise direction, beginning to the left of the entry, for easy reference.
The image area of each pillar face is framed on both sides and the top with the typical Egyptian border of coloured rectangles. At the bottom, in each case, is an undecorated dado area separated by a red (at the top) and yellow-ochre band, each edged in black. None of the pillar faces are truly rectangular, in fact the pillars themselves are extremely irregular.
Eight of the sixteen faces have a khekher frieze between the top of the decorated area and the ceiling. These include six of the faces of the pillars located to the south of the central aisle (pillars 1 and 2). The first exception being the west face of pillar 2, which for some reason is now totally blank, so may have been lost through damage. The other exception is north face of pillar 2, which has the double image of Anubis on pylons, like the image above the entry door. The other two faces with a khekher frieze are those of the aisle facing (south) surfaces of pillars 3 and 4. On all other faces the the top Egyptian border reaches to ceiling height.
Again there are exceptions, these are on the surfaces which are opposite each other of pillars 3 and 4. Above the Egyptian border of these is a yellow-ochre band containing text. Two other bands of text bridge the transverse aisle gap between pillars 1 and 2, and pillars 3 and 4, these both face the central aisle and are painted with a white background.
At the top of four image areas, those of the east and west faces of pillars 3 and 4, are two symbolic udjat-eyes, separated by a shen-ring, a nun-dish and the hieroglyphic sign for water. This symbol was intended to offer protection in the afterlife and to ward off evil.
Like the other following pillars, the faces will be dealt with in a clockwise sequence, beginning with the surface facing east, the entrance doorway, at the bottom of the image opposite.
Here, Sennefer is seated and Meryt, who is standing, presents to him a bowl of incense (myrrh). Dressed in his usual attire, he wears the broad blue coloured necklace and only a single bracelet, which is on his right wrist. In his left hand he holds a folded piece of cloth (see ).
The text above him says:
"An offering which the king gives to Anubis at the top of the divine hall (meaning the embalming hall). May he give everything which comes to his table for the ka of Mayor Sennefer, justified."
Meryt wears her usual tight fitting white dress, a broad necklace and a bracelet on each wrist, also an additional one on her left arm, just below the elbow. The two bracelets have a tiled appearance alternately of blue and red. Although standing, Meryt is still shorter than Sennefer, as he is the main figure in this picture. The first of two columns of text above Meryt is badly damaged, but the whole states:
"[May you be joyful with myrrh] His companion, the mistress of the house, Meryt."
Although similar in arrangement to the previous scene, the first obvious difference is that Sennefer does not wear a vest. Beneath his chair is a large curved and stoppered vessel. In this scene he has a bracelet on each wrist, whilst he holds an open bloom in his left hand, breathing its fragrance.
The columned text above him states:
"Mayor of the Southern City, overseer of the cattle of Amun, Sennefer, justified before Osiris, Ruler of Eternity."
Meryt, who is dressed as before, offers him a platter of fruit (see ), with the text stating:
"Bread and beer, oxen and fowl, everything good and pure. His companion, whom he loves, the mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
In this following scene, Meryt brings Sennefer lotus blossoms. He again wears no vest, but this time he wears a broad gold necklace and four gold bracelets. Once more he holds a lotus blossom to his nose, to enjoy its fragrance, but this time with his right hand. His text says:
"Mayor of the Southern City, overseer of the garden of Amun, Sennefer, justified, before the great god.
Meryt holds a bunch of blossoms in her right hand whilst touching tenderly his right upper arm with her left hand (see ), saying:
"May he favour you, may he love you, Ra Horakhty and Osiris, Ruler of Eternity. The mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
A small female kneels at the side of Sennefer's chair, on a mat, grasping his leg (see ). There is no identifying text, but she may be his daughter. She too has a lotus blossom in her hand.
In the final scene of this pillar, the deceased is seated on a chair in the Ished tree, with Meryt kneeling at his side, on a small mat, which rests on the larger one on which Sennefer's chair is placed, with her arms wrapped around his legs. The tree is a symbol guaranteeing eternal life. Sennefer is once again fully clothed, wearing his golden jewelry, which includes an earring. For the first time on this pillar he wears his double heart amulet. In his left hand he holds the now familiar blossom to his nose, whilst in his right hand he holds his sekhem-sceptre. In front of the couple is a table, on top of which are three tall vessels, around which spiral lotus flowers in bud (see ). Above them is laid a bunch of three flowers, two in bud and one in bloom. The text at the top of the scene states:
"Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified. May you receive gifts in the necropolis when you go forth as usual for every day in your place of eternity, Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified before the great god." Meryt is identified by the text in front of her, under the table:
"His companion, his beloved, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
This pillar supports the ceiling of the south east corner, at the left rear corner of the chamber.
For the first time on these pillars, both Sennefer and Meryt are standing, Sennefer on the right. Although the centre of the scene has suffered damage, nothing of importance has been lost. Both are dressed in their usual garments, Sennefer with his gold jewelry, but this time with his double heart amulet on his chest. In his left hand, held at his side, he holds the sekhem-sceptre. He holds his right arm round under Meryt's left, which she places round his back and on to his left shoulder. The short text of Sennefer, above his head, simply says:
"Mayor of the Southern City, overseer of the fields of Amun, Sennefer, justified."
Meryt holds a small bouquet of lotus flowers, the blooms of which stand in front of the nostrils of the couple (see ).
Her descriptive text is much longer, she offers him wishes:
"May he be favoured, may he be loved, by the great Mother (Mut), the Lady of Isheru, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the Two Lands. His companion whom he loves, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
In this next scene, they are again standing, although with Sennefer on the left, and holding hands. Because of the damage to the scene it is uncertain as to whether Sennefer was holding anything in his right hand or even if he is wearing the heart amulet.
His text is just the simple but slightly different identification:
"Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified before the Great God, Ruler of Eternity."
Meryt (see ) holds a sistrum to Sennefer's nose, only the top part of which has survived. Again she offers him wishes:
"May he be favoured, may he be loved, by Amun. His companion, the chantress of Amun, Meryt, justified." Once more a small child is in the scene, standing behind Meryt, holding a lotus blossom to her nose. Again she has no identifying text.
In this scene, at the rear of the pillar, a large area has been lost, however, enough has survived to identify all of the main action; even the text is complete. Sennefer is once again seated facing the standing figure of Meryt. He holds a folded piece of cloth in his right hand, whilst the other hovers over his thighs.
The text above him is of the typical offering type of formula:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, Ruler of Eternity, that he may give myrrh to scent the air in the course of every day, for the ka of Mayor Sennefer, justified."
Meryt holds the vessel, which obviously holds the myrrh, towards his nose (see ). She is simply identified as:
"His companion, whom he loves, mistress of the house, chantress of Amun, Meryt, justified."
As on the same face on pillar 1, Sennefer and Meryt share the scene with a tree. He is once again seated, but the damage to the scene hides whether he was holding anything in either hand. He wears his usual attire with gold jewelry, including the double heart. Under his chair is a single vase (see ).
The tree which he faces rests on top of a tall cult standard support which acts as a table. At its middle is the diminutive figure of the tree goddess, identified in Sennefer's speech as Isis (see ).
His text takes up everything except the final column at the top of the scene:
"Mayor of the Southern City, Overseer of the Cattle of Amun, Sennefer, justified. He says: 'Isis the divine Mother of the God, the spirit in the necropolis, may you receive offerings which come forth for eternity.' Mayor Sennefer, justified"
The much smaller figure of Meryt sits at Sennefer's side, also on a chair, but with a taller backrest without any cushioning (see where she is located in front of the vase). Whatever she held in her hands is now lost due to the damage. Her single column of text simply states:
"His companion, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
At the top of this pillar, separating the Egyptian border from the ceiling, is the image of the double Anubis jackals reclining on the pylons, like the image above the entry door. To either side, at the rear of the jackals, is an udjet-eye, the symbol of protection.
On the frieze between pillars 1 and 2, are written two legends on a white background, which name two of the children of Horus (see the about all four of them). Both texts start at the centre. The other two are named in the text on the frieze between the two facing pillars.
Nearest to pillar 1:
"The revered Hapy, and the Osiris, Sennefer, justified." This is shown as on the frieze.
Nearest to pillar 2:
"The revered Amseti, and the Osiris, Sennefer, justified."
Moving now to the opposite side of the chamber, the north side, the pillar dealt with next is located at the north-west (far) corner.
Here is a now familiar composition, of Sennefer seated with Meryt standing in front of him. The support for the chair and the couple is different from any of the other pillar faces. Some have a reed mat or a plain white dais/plinth (possibly of stone or alabasta), but here there is firstly a white plinth with markings, which then rests on a reed mat. In Sennefer's right hand he holds a lotus bouquet tightly bound with a mandrake (a symbol of love) across his chest. In his other, he holds the usual folded cloth. His jewelry of broad necklace, arm and wrist bracelets are of gold, but he does not wear an earring. He does however have his double heart amulet. The text above him reads:
"Mayor of the Southern city, overseer of the granaries of Amun, Sennefer, justified." Meryt, who when standing, appears as at same height as Sennefer, is offering to him a bowl with her right hand. The fingertips of her left hand almost rest on his thigh. Her text describes her words to him:
"[For] your ka, making a happy day. The mistress of the house, the chantress of Amun, Meryt."
This pillar face is one of those which has at the top, above the scene, but below the Egyptian border, the pair of udjat-eyes, separated by a shen-ring, a nun-dish and the hieroglyphic sign for water.
Also, at the very top, above the coloured border, is a band of text on a yellow-ochre background.
"Words spoken by the revered one before Anubis, who is in the place of embalming; the Osiris, Sennefer, justified."
In the second scene on this pillar, both Sennefer and Meryt, who are facing each other, are on opposite sides of the scene to the previous image. Sennefer, wears a different assortment of jewelry this time; no wrist bands but he does have a gold earring. His double heart amulet can clearly be seen (), one is yellow (gold), the other white (silver). On the yellow heart, is inscribed the first name "Aa-kheperu-re" of Amenhotep (Amenophis) II; on the white heart is the throne name "Amenhotep" of the same king. The folded cloth is in his right hand above his thigh, whilst he places his left hand on the right shoulder of Meryt. His eight columns of text expand his titles:
"Hereditary Noble and Mayor, firm in favour and great of love, Trusted Confidant of the Lord of the Two Lands, Mayor of the Southern City, Overseer of the Gardens of Amun, Sennefer, justified." Meryt presents him with a gold necklace on a golden dish, which she holds in her left hand. Her right hand is extended towards the double heart emblem, which she appears to adjust with her fingers, saying the words:
"To make firm the two hearts for Mayor Sennefer, justified. His companion whom he loves, the chantress of Amun, Meryt, justified."
In the next scene, Sennefer is seated on either a chair without a backrest or perhaps a large ornate stool with gold legs. His feet rest on a smaller plain stool. In his left hand he holds a strip of material and a single flower in full bloom. He holds his closed right hand out towards Meryt. Again he wears his gold bracelets and broad necklace, from under which hangs his double heart amulet. Under his seat is a casket. His identifying text is quite simple:
"Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified before the great god." Meryt, dressed in her usual slim white dress, has over it a fine and flowing additional dress, which extends over her upper arms down to her feet. She presents Sennefer with two necklaces on a tray. One has a gold spiral neck-band, from which is suspended a very large scarab, the symbol of transformation. The other, also with a similar neck-band, has three small gold amulets: an Isis-knot, a djed-pillar and a phallus (see ). Her text is also short:
"His companion, his beloved, the chantress of Amun, the mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
Like the scene at the other side of the pillar, this face also has, at the top, the two udjat-eyes and the other symbols between them.
The last scene of this pillar is the performance of purification, part of the ceremony of the 'Opening of the Mouth' (as mentioned previously, the actually ceremony is not shown in the tomb). The purification is carried out by four priests, two on either side. The purification streams of water flow upwards from the nemset-jars held by the priests, forming a dual covering over Sennefer, and descending to his feet. Sennefer stands on a sandy hill in the form of a "mountain" hieroglyph. The valley is filled (like a lake or stream) with the hieroglyph for "festival", of which three more are displayed above his head, but placed upside down. Thus there are four "festival" hieroglyphs to match the number of priests and streams of purifying water. The four officiants are identified by their status: top left -
"chief lector priest", top right -
"priest", bottom left and right -
"lector priest". They each stand at one of the four cardinal points.
The double heart, one silver and one gold, hangs against Sennefer's chest and golden jewelry once again decorates his neck and arms. He holds a baton horizontally in front of him with both hands.
Two legends are at the top of the scene separated by the streams of water. On the right:
"Words spoken four times. 'Your purification is the purification of Dwn-anwy, the Osiris, Sennefer, justified'." On the left:
"Words spoken four times. 'Your purification is the purification of Horus, the Osiris, Mayor Sennefer'."
This final pillar is located on the right when entering the chamber, the north side. Again the faces will be dealt with in clock-wise rotation, starting with the one facing the entry wall.
Meryt is again standing in front of the seated Sennefer. This time, however, his chair only has a padded seat, whilst the much taller backrest has none. Beneath the chair, which rests on a plain white dais/plinth, is a tall vase. Sennefer is dressed in his usual attire, but with no heart amulet, holding up his empty hands towards Meryt, to accept from her the goblet which she holds in her right hand. She invites him to be delighted, as the legend above her head indicates:
"[For] your ka, making a happy day in your place of eternity. The mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
Above Sennefer's head the text states:
"Mayor of the Southern City, overseer of the Beauty of Amun Ra, Sennefer, justified before Osiris, the Great God, Lord of Eternity."
At the top of the scene, as found twice before on the previous pillar, are the two symbolic udjat-eyes, separated by a shen-ring, a nun-dish and the hieroglyphic sign for water.
Now wearing the double heart amulet, which, as before, bears the two names of Amenhotep II. Sennefer is once again seated in front of Meryt. His chair is of the type found on most of the pillars faces, having a short well padded backrest and seat. Beneath it are two tall vases. Meryt stands in front of him, but neither of them hold anything in their hands. She holds Sennefer's left hand with her right, whilst with her left, she supports his right elbow. He places his right hand on her left shoulder. She wears three beautifully coloured bracelets, two on her left arm and one on her right. His titles, in the columns of text above him, are slightly different to those already encountered:
"Hereditary Noble and Mayor, Great Confidant of the Lord of the Two Lands, Overseer of the Gardens of Amun, Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified before the Great God, the Lord of Djedu." This title of the "Great God, the Lord of Djedu" refers to Osiris, who is often represented by an animated djed-pillar. Those of Meryt are also a slight variant:
"His companion, his beloved, chantress of Amun, favoured one of Mut in Isheru, mistress of the house, Meryt, justified."
Sennefer is seated on a stool with crossed legs. This is the only pillar face in this chamber where such a stool is found. Once again (as on the east face) a plain white dais/plinth is used to support the couple and the stool. In his right hand he holds the folded cloth; in his left hand, a flower in full bloom, which he holds to his nose. He no longer wears the two hearts, but draped over his left shoulder and down his back is an unidentifiable item. He is simply identified as:
"Mayor of the Southern City, Sennefer, justified." Meryt, standing in front of him, presents him with two pieces of cloth. Her text just states:
"Giving linen. His companion, Meryt."
Above the scene, this being the fourth occurrence, is the seal, vase and water, with the two udjat-eyes. THis is a reminder of the magical action, infinitely renewed, that water and heat will regenerate the seedling from the shelter of the land; a parallel of the regeneration of Sennefer from death to a new life in the world beyond.
Also, at the very top, above the coloured border, is a band of text on a yellow-ochre background.
"Words spoken by the revered one before Anubis; the gardener of the god, the Osiris, Sennefer, justified." Note the fuller inscription of "Sennefer, justified ('true of voice') ".
At last, the final face of the four pillars. The scene is very similar to that of the north face of pillar 3. The two images of Sennefer face each other across the dividing space.
As on the other pillar, Sennefer is represented standing on the sandy mound. In his left hand he holds his sekhem-sceptre of power across his chest. With his right hand he holds a long staff, resting it on the ground for support. He does not wear his double heart amulet. Four officiants, all identified by simple texts, are at the four cardinal points, kneeling before him. They are: a
"chief lector-priest" (top left), a
"Prophet of the Beautiful House" (top right), a
"companion (of the king) " (bottom left) and a
"priest" (bottom right). At the right-hand side of the sandy mound is an animated djed-pillar, with one hand raised and holding a sekhem-sceptre, the symbol of power. In the other (lowered) hand it holds an unknown object. The pillar was referred to indirectly on the south face of this pillar. At the other side, against the raised edge forming a mountain, are two tables each with four vessels on top and another four below.
The long text for the full scene states:
"An offering which the king gives to Osiris, Ruler of Eternity; so that he may give the coming and going from the necropolis and resting upon his seat for eternity, to the Mayor of the Southern city, overseer of the fields of Amun, overseer of the gardens of Amun, Sennefer, justified."
On the frieze between the two northern pillars, are written two legends on a white background, which again name two of the children of Horus, both starting at the centre. The other two, already mentioned, are named in the text on the frieze between the two facing pillars.
Nearest to pillar 3:
"The revered Duamutef, and the Osiris, Sennefer, justified." This is shown as on the frieze.
Nearest to pillar 4:
"The revered Qebehsenuef, and the Osiris, Sennefer, justified."