The tomb of Shuroy is in Western Thebes, on the site of Dra Abou el Naga. It dates from Ramesside times, one is unable to locate it more precisely. To date it does not seem to have been the subject of any publication, being only indexed in the work of Porter and Moss (see bibliography). The owner, Shuroy, was "brazier carrier of Amon" (view 1). His wife Our-Neferet was a chantress of Amon. We do not know anything more about them.
The tomb is of average size and adopts a "T" formation. It comprises two rooms A and B. It is unfinished, and a great part of its plasterwork has disappeared. What remains was the subject of a restoration in 2002.
In accordance with the traditional bipartisanship of the Ramesside standard, the painted decoration "in fresco" on a bluish-white coating played especially in ochres is very clear or dark and of the colours of the pallet harmonised starting from the red which punctuates the lists or the friezes. The quality of the overall execution is uneven, rather average.
On the walls, to the right (view 3, is Shuroy and his wife, of which remains only the upper half of the bodies, are turned towards the entrance and Shuroy holds in hands two braziers, as he will do in the remainder of the tomb. On the left wall (view 5) a woman whose features are only sketched in red paint holds in a hand a Hathor sistrum. The rattle noise that this instrument produces was supposed to imitate the rustle of papyri and attract the great goddess.
The ceiling of Room A is very well preserved. It is treated according to the fashion of the time as if stretched canvas. Its form consists of rectangles, which at the entrance end are filled with red star motives in white squares or black in yellow squares, and towards the bottom alternating red, white, black and blue wavy lines. The Panels are divided up by thick golden yellow bands framed by thick white, red and black lines.
In Room B a single ceiling segment remains comprising a checkerboard alternating white and yellow squares.
These are divided in two registers each. Above of the upper register, a thick yellow band surrounding two red lines of a red lines encircles the room, separating the registers from the ceiling.
Hieroglyphs are drawn on a constant yellow base, identicative of the conventional colour of gold which is the Ramesside rule for centuries. The columns for hieroglyphs are separated by thick verical blue and red lines. No text was registered on either of the walls and the intended columns to contain the hieroglyphs remained empty. On the two walls one finds representations of the "Book of Gates".
The beginning of the wall is in fact on the wall to the right of the entrance (
The wall starts with the view of the deceased's feet, very damaged (, ) He holds in his right hand a stem of papyrus with an open flower. Before him is the representation of a door, where, standing on an oblong pedestal is a genie holding in his left hand a ouas-scepter of power.
This first test passed, the couple formed by Shuroy and his wife appears in worship in front of a second door () Shuroy carries in his right hand a raised brazier that he presents above a table of offerings.
This second door is itself divided in two registers (view 13). At the top, the first represented god has a very damaged but human face, and he is covered by a solar disk surmounted by an uaeus. He is probably intended here to be recognised as Re. Behind him, one finds the representation of Thoth with the head of an ibis, covered by his lunar emblems (full moon and segment). On top of his red garment stands a feather of Shou. The bottom register holds two goddesses that one cannot identify positively. The first has blue-green flesh, the one at the rear has a clear complexion traditionally reserved for females, and her head is wrapped by a red ribbon whose folds fall to the rear on her wig.
The couple are represented again in a probably identical manner to that of the first time, but this time better preserved ()
Shuroy has a shaven head and on his chest is represented a large ousekh-necklace (in fact only sketched). He is dressed with the loincloth of ceremony of the time, worn high up on the loins with a large white front section. He again makes the offering of a brazier which burns wads of a fragrant resin whose smoke is directed toward the shrine. Both tables of offerings which he dedicates are decorated of breads and vegetables. Below, a high vase stands on a small altar.
The large shrine hold Osiris, master of the eternity and the underworld (view 15). The god has dark green flesh and holds in his hand the nekhakha-whip and the hekha-scepter, symbols of his power. He is seated on the usual ancient cuboid seat. Before him, an extensively open lotus flower supports a representation (sketched) of the Four Sons of Horus.
It is separated of the upper register by a thick yellow band with double red lines. It is extensively destroyed and photographing of the remaining elements is made difficult by the protective wooden rail that was – understandably - placed in front.
On the West side, on the right of the entry () one finds the rest of a table of offerings surmounted of yellow columns which remain empty of texts. Of the middle part, alone are preserved the two faces of Shuroy and his wife () Towards the bottom is of the wall one still recognizes the deceased making an offering of fragrant resin next to a table of offerings in front of the effigy of Re again or of Re-Horakhty ()
As for the opposite wall, the beginning of the wall continues the East wall (, ). The first quarter of the wall has not been finished, and even the coloured sealer wasn't applied to the layer of mud intended to level the wall while erasing the irregularities of the stone underneath. The designers nevertheless wanted to finish the decorative program which they had begun, and they merely represented in red ocher the outlines of the scenes.
And one sees the couple thus in worship (), soliciting the entry into the underground world. The woman wears on her head a lotus flower opened forward, symbol of rebirth.
Before them, in a symmetrical manner in relation to the opposite wall, a guardian genius is represented keeping a door crowned with a frieze of raised cobras (). The animal head could be that of the doe and he holds in his hands a knife and a scepter of power. Above him are two udjat-eyes separated by nefer sign ().
Having passed this test, the couple meets in the same attitude before another door. The decoration having this time been finished, we can better appreciate the beautiful curled wig of the wife surmounted by her lotus flower (view 23). She is clothed of a, nearly transparent, thin linen dress, which allows conjecture of her beautiful shape. His chest is adorned by a large necklace. One notices the difference of complexion corresponding to the Egyptian pictorial standard: the woman has the very clear skin, while the man is tanned.
The door which they face is very similar to the previous one, but this time it was finished. It is another standing, knife carrying, genie that is represented there, surmounted by a pair of oudjat-eyes and by a nefer sign ().
Having again passed this dangerous test, the couple is represented again in worship (view 25). The artist completed the decoration of the clothes while representing the top of the kilt of Shuroy and his wife's dress in bronze colour. Shuroy who had the head shaved in the previous representation is now dressed of a wig and carry the short beard of the living. Before them, a laden table of offerings () covered with: breads, meats, mandrakes, grapes, cucumbers, leeks… under it, two vases with red bodies, toppped with black lids.
The shrine to which the couple face is splendidly decorated () and it is very normal because seated there is the great god Re (Horakhty), sovereign of the day star (view 28). As with the Osiris on the opposed wall, which he matches, the falcon-headed god is seated on a low ancient cubiod seat. He holds in his hand the ouas-scepter of power and the ankh-sign of life. Standing before him and coping him, his daughter, the goddess Maat () Although the text doesn't exist, one can imagine that she comes to announce to the great god that the couple Shuroy and his wife have acted in accordance with his will during their terrestrial life. She thus replaces the scene of the "weighing of the heart", that is not represented in the tomb.
Thus, on the North and South walls, the couple pay homage in a symmetrical way to the two great gods that preside over the fate of the earthly world and underworld.
This is incomplete, with only the outlines drawn in red ink. Besides, it is only preserved in the North part, and again very partially.
The Shuroy couple, now invisible, do homage to a Pharaoh and to a queen behind him () whose cartouches remained blank; we are permitted to think that it refers to the two protective sovereigns of the necropolis, king Amenhotep I and his mother the queen Ahmes Nefertari of which one recognizes the hairstyle including the remains of a vulture. Traces of a cortouche is also recovered before her (). Behind her, a representation of the symbol of the west.
The two parts of the wall situated on both sides of the entry door represent the beginning of the journey of the deceased toward the underworld. They establish the real beginning of the North and South walls with which there is no transition.
On the upper register we find the representation of the deceased husband, in full dress, with a ointment cone (real or symbolic) on his head. She holds in a hand a libation vase, the other being raised before her. If one considers the setting of the composition, she stands directly behind her husband Shuroy at the beginning of the North wall. Behind her
an unidentified masculine character with the shaven head cold be the deceased's son - holding in his left hand a long stem of papyrus. One notices that this scene is framed on two sides by a border of green, yellow, red and blue rectangles, edged by a thick light-blue line. This border starts vertically immediately at the beginning of the scene and continues horizontally all around the piece, thus separating the walls from the ceiling.
Only some fragments persist of the lower register ()
Only the upper register is represented, also it begins with the scene that will continue in the beginning of the South wall. As in it, the scene has only been sketched, the red brush outlines a shrine surmounted of cobras and containing a genie carrying a knife. Its drawn out face could be the one of a crocodile. Over of him, as in other shrines of the same way type, the two Oudjats eyes are sketched, separated by the Nefer sign.
This includes two almost symmetrical sections separated by a small area of lintel above the small passage going to room B.
The decoration is separated from the lower quarter by two broad yellow and red horizontal bands, separated by black lines. Two tall columns of hieroglyphs, along with a third smaller one frame the door. The hieroglyphs are worked in colour and carry the owner's identity, "Carrier of the brazier of Amon, Shuroy", ().
Very remarkable are the two symmetrical pictures of Djed pillars (, ). They are dressed in a red jacket, decorated with blue and white rosettes, and with a large white loincloth. Around the midriff is a red scarf (slightly different for each of them) whose large flaps fall on the loincloth.
The hands, of a green complexion, hold the symbols Osiris: the flail and the Héqa specter. One of the versions of the Djed is represented with two Oudjats eyes on the god's head, just visible on the right, ().
The left upper corner of the wall has the name of the wife of Shuroy, the lady Our (t) -Nefer (t), quickly drawn in black hieroglyphs ().
Under the two Djeds, the representations diverge from one wall to the other. on the left a vast symbol of the west, with to right of its base a basket surmounted by an oval bread (). On the left one first finds five short colorful hieroglyphic columns that include a supplication to Osiris so that he grants the invocatory offering (prt rekhou) to Shuroy, the blessed (view 44). This text surmounts a "table" stilted structural of the round and oval breads. One could see in this representation an avatar of the hieroglyphic sign of the East (Iabet) which relates to the adjoining small column of text, that speaks of "Osiris, master of the East". At the base, a basket surmounted with bread and a red and blue pot-bellied vase. ().
(view 46 - view North and
A small corridor where only some sketches of the couple remain in the entry to room B (). The room has an irregular rectangular shape.
The small walls at the North and South ends are not decorated. The first acted a long time as entry in the tomb. Only a very small part of the ceiling is preserved, which constituted of rectangles separated by yellow stripes and including – in what remains - white and yellow square motifs.
It has a roughly centered niche on the East wall.
On the right of the niche (, 50) a fragment of scene showing the deceased and his wife before Osiris. The god, whose face disappeared, is seated on his throne, the usual cuboid seat, that rests on a Maat sign. Behind him, Isis and Nephtys, his two sisters, of which one knows the role in the rebirth of the dead god. In front of him, a vast lotus flower on which, of which we already met a representation sketched in room A. Before them is an imiut (or Anubis) fetish (symbolised by a pole in a pot with a skin of an animal) before it stand mumiform images of the four sons of Horus, of which the role (compilation of the moods of the dead god?) remains debated. The text above is an invocation to Osiris and Thoth for the wife of Shuroy ().
On the left of the niche, the small preserved parietal segment (view 52) includes two registers separated by a thick yellow, inscribed, band. At the top (), a mourner laments before the upright sarcophagus of the deceased. Behind her two officiants are at work. One presents an offering. The second holds in a hand the adze with which he is going to carry out the ceremony of the "opening of the mouth" while the other hand rests on a chest containing the other necessary instruments of the cult.
In the lower register (), Shuroy is knelt in front of two braziers before the effigy of the cow Hathor who is exiting the mountain of the west in the midst of an area lined with papyrus (). This is concerns supplication to the great goddess so that she welcomes him within, where he will be able to be reborn for his own works in the beyond.
In the niche, nothing remains except a scene representing characters (two males and a female) making offerings (, ).
On the Right when entering, the scenes are only partially preserved. One recognises a group of seated priests only by the shaven skull () and, underneath, another standing holding a large vase. A small fragment of the frieze still exists. One discovers there a motive that can be only be from the XIXth. Dynasty (, view 60) : alternating figures of Hathor with a magnificent wig, relaxing on a Neb sign and Anubis, guard of the necropolis. It lacks another element, a kheker frieze. The figures are separated by short columns of inscriptions on a yellow background.
The upper register is divided in two half registers, which in form only represent the end of the processional cortege. The wall must be read therefore (initially) from right to left. From the place of landing on the West bank of the Nile (non represented) one first finds, at the rear of the cortege, many servants carrying the funeral furniture (, ). They are rather poorly represented, the artist having chosen to vary his composition while however while making the complexion of some alternate characters yellow or copper-coloured (). A long line of bearers with chests follows the official characters of which three are represented on the left in order to make the link with the scene underneath this one. Their rich cloths distinguish them from the simple bearers with loincloths that follow them (view 66, ). The last one holds in his hand the censer that will serve in the various rituals practiced on the mummy.
In the lower half register, the colleagues and friends of Shuroy, some of which are shaven while others wear a wig. In their hands they hold a stick or scepter. In front, and therefore on the right of the wall, a person is seated on a stool, before a small table (or chest) in front of which a servant is bent (). The end of the scene is destroyed unfortunately. The interpretation of the end of the register remains uncertain.
The lower register is cut in two; its first part continues to show the stretch of the cortege, while separating the notables from the servants; on the other hand in the final scene, which happens before the entry of the tomb, the characters mingle.
A funny scene starts the register: tired, the carriers put down charges to them, and moreover, because they wanted to show by this that they had arrived at their destination (, 69). Seated on their heels they await.
Then the procession resumes, with the bearers of cases, of which one bends his neck under his burden (). In front of the sacrificial ox, whose role is shown well by the haunch that is held before it by an assistant (view 71).
Below, these are the nearest of the deceased that are represented, since it is about hauling the sarcophagus, put on a sledge until he reaches his house of eternity ().
The catafalque (difficult to photograph because of a rail) is decorated with horizontal and vertical yellow and red bandss. At the top, above a now extint likely frieze of cobras, is a red rounded roof where coils up a large protective white snake. Three characters pull the sledge by means of a thick rope. Then comes a group of mourners () with childen at their feet, notably naked girls. Before them of the bearers of chests and large bouquets held high.
In the last part of the scene, the processions seem to join. We have arrived before the entry to the tomb, and the rituals of eternity begun (view 74). So two characters are going to present before the deceased's face the haunch of still warm ox, still pounding with life. At feet of the raised mummy, the wife of the deceased, in tears, is accompanied by the other women. No text informs us of the identity of the characters, and we don't even know if these are the deceased's children that officiate, nor even if some are.
In summary, this tomb of Shuroy can seem a little disappointing by its incomplete character and, it is necessary to recognise that, by its incompleteness, we still hunger. Its restoration was however very well done, the colours are vivid.
The Abbott payrus, which dates from year sixteen of the reign of Ramesses IX, speaks of the tomb:
"The pyramidal tomb of king Nebkheperra, Son of Ra, Antef, L.P.H. (life, prosperity and health)
. It was recovered close to being penetrated by the thieves who had dug a tunnel of two and a half cubits into its eastern wall, (a tunnel of) one cubit into the wall of the (transverse) gallery of the tomb of the superintendent of offering of the House of Amen named Yuroy. This is the only damage. It is intact. The thieves were incapable of reaching it." (Yuroy = Shuroy).
The tomb of king Antef was finally found in 2001 by the German institute. It is located to the southwest of the one of Shuroy, from which it separated by the chapel of one named Teti (Soliman).
NB: TT13 is one of the very rare tombs that the Service of the Antiques of Egypt open to the public.