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THE TOMB OF NAKHT IN THE VALLEY OF THE NOBLES-THEBES-WEST

the courtyard& the entrance of the tomb

Since the days of Davies, the courtyard area has changed dramatically, leaving no indication as to its original size and depth. The tomb is now entered via a set of modern steps just wider than the actual entrance. At the beginning of the 20th century the courtyard was very different  although possibly nothing like it was originally.

The entrance passageway is narrow (less than 1m) but just less than 2m in height. The short length of its side walls are undecorated and the external uprights (also undecorated) are, like the lintel, reasonably modern. 



THE CEILING
 the ceiling is very uneven, dipping and curving, . The ceiling was painted with imitation wooden beams, in yellow ochre, dividing and bordering the area into smaller sections, into which colourful matting designs were inserted. In some other tombs these "beams" contain texts, but here there is no indication of such. The beams are edged with white borders, however, for some reason the red centre line seen in the borders of the south bay has been omitted in the northern one. The feature of matting suspended between beams was common in domestic architecture. The zigzag designs used here were typical for this period, three designs, with variants, being used.
In the area delineated between the entrance doorway and that to the inner chamber was a plain pattern of zigzag lines of red, blue and green, separated by white and edged by its own beams. This panel runs roughly at right angles to the other two areas, which are situated above the two sides bays of the transverse room.
The area in each of the two bays has been divided into two panels with a separating central beam, thus giving four zones. The basic design of three of these are very similar and is that of rows of diamond shapes containing four-petalled rosettes, in-filled between the petals with dots. These shapes are separated by zigzag lines of blue, red and green. In two of these sections, the in-fill around the rosettes and dots is ochre, with the zigzag lines separated by white; in the other the in-fill is white and the zigzag lines are separated with ochre. The differing design is in the quadrant above the the south-east corner. This still consists of rows of ochre coloured diamond shapes, but this time outlined in black and containing two further black diamond shapes. These diamond shapes are separated by red zigzag lines, edged in white. Each inner area, which includes the diamonds, is divided into a blues and a green zone.
The ceiling is in very good condition on the northern side and the area joining the two doorways. However, a major portion has fallen from the southern side, western quadrant , below which is the most damaged section of wall
 the sides and upper edge of the walls were decorated with the so-called Egyptian border (a colour ladder design) edged with narrow black bands. This border consists of coloured rectangles, the sequence of being green, ochre, blue and red with small white intermediate stripes separating them. At the junction of two walls, the ladder bands were all intended to be edged with a chain or leopard tail design on a black background, and separated further by a blue column situated in at the actual corner. This can be seen on those of the south corners . This isn't the case in the corners of the north end, where the areas remain blank , with no chain design or blue band.
Above the top horizontal border design, the area is filled with the so-called kheker frieze, representing bound bundles of reeds daubed with mud and painted. Although space was left for the frieze on the north end wall, this wasn't even started.
The bottom dado area of the walls (frequently painted black) was left unpainted and was meant to be separated from the main scenes by broad red and yellow stripes edged in black ; however, this was only completed on the west wall. On the other walls, the bottom of the scene area is merely edged with a black line.
THE SCENES OF THE TOMB
The images of Nakht and Tawy occupying the almost the total height of the upper register, the text above them taking up the remaining height  The other characters are shown at a much smaller scale, which is usual in tomb decoration. They stand in front of a pile of offerings, which doesn't actually stand on the floor, but is raised to the knee height of Nakht, leaving space below for a sub-scene.
Behind this scene, the right-hand side of the wall contains scenes of agriculture; these being continued in the bottom register which extends the full width of the wall.

 The Offering scene 

• The couple and the offerings
The eleven lines of text above the scene describe it as follows (the name of Amon having been removed three times): "Offering all good and pure things, bread, beer, ox, poultry, long-horned cattle and short-horned cattle, which are placed on the altars [of Amon, to] Re-Harakhty, to Osiris the great god, to Hathor mistress of the necropolis, and to Anubis on his hill; (by) the serving-priest of [Amon, the scribe Nakht, justified], (and) his sister, his beloved, with a place in his heart, the chantress of [Amon, Tawy], justified.".
The offerings rest on a reed mat, whilst above the many different items, as mentioned above, is another reed mat on which stand four vessels, no doubt for oil or unguents. Over each of these four vessels rest lotus blossoms, both in bud and in bloom.

Nakht, bared-footed and with a shoulder-length black wig and no beard, is dressed in a short white kilt with a longer semi-transparent one over it. He wears wrist bracelets on each arm and a colourful broad necklace around his neck. In his hands he holds a vessel from which he pours the contents (incense oil, in the form of an orange mass) onto the pile of offerings.

Tawy, also bared-footed and with a longer black wig around which is a broad head band adorned at the front with a lotus blossom, is dressed in a tight fitting white dress, which reveals her breast. Over the white dress is also a semi-transparent longer one, the bottom edge of which reaches over her feet. She wears four bracelets, one on each wrist and one on each upper arm. Her broad necklace is also colourful and very decorative. In her right hand she holds a menat necklace and in the other a musical instrument called a sistrum. Both of these were associated with the goddess Hathor and were certainly appropriate to her title as "chantress of Amon"
• Sub-scene, below the offerings
A sacrificial ox, which is lying a reed mat, is being dismembered by two men. The artist would appear to have made a very strange error: if the ox is lying on the mat, then the lower part of their legs should not appear in front of it, from behind the animal . A third man is shown offering to Nakht a dish with two white cones of fat, presumably made from the animal being dismembered. 
The agricultural scenes 
 these scenes may also have (and possible just as important) the aim of presenting the succession of the seasons and thus providing a calendar for eternity. The upper area is divided into three registers, the top two of which have a canopy at the right-hand end, under which sits another image of Nakht. He also appears similarly at the right-hand end of the bottom register, again under his canopy. None of the actual scenes of agriculture contain descriptive texts, although thirteen columns for such were created in the next to top register; these were however left totally blank . The activities begin in the bottom register with the preparation of the land and continue in the three shorter upper ones. These scenes, with variations, are also found in other tombs  but here the scenes are extremely damaged). 

The upper image of Nakht (almost identical to the one of the bottom register) has him seated on a stool, holding a long staff in his right hand and a folded piece of cloth in his other, which he rests on his lap He is dressed differently to that of his standing image before the offerings, this time he has a semi-transparent garment over his upper torso, which drapes over his back. This canopy, and the one below, is supported at the front by a papyri form pillar, with a double lotus blossom attachment, and the remainder of the structure apparently made from reed mats, including the ground area on which his stool rests. This upper image, which is larger than the one below, includes five columns of descriptive text, written in blue hieroglyphs, in which the third column (containing the name of Amon) has been destroyed. The text states: "Sitting in a booth and looking at his fields; the serving-priest of [Amon, the scribe Nakht, justified], triumphant before the great god.". In front of his booth are piled many provisions of food and drink, this time not being offerings but his sustenance during his time observing the activities in the fields, which he observes. 

 The bottom image of Nakht is different in the fact that here is shown wearing a short beard and there is no accompanying text . Again, in front of his booth is a pile of provisions, this time different from the ones of the upper image and displayed more clearly. However, unlike the upper registers, the workers of this bottom register are also supplied with provisions. These are located at the left-hand end of the scene, under a tree, obviously less plentiful than those of their master. In the branches of the tree hangs an animal skin of water, from which one of the workers drinks. For some reason the artist has included one bag of corn seed on top of the workers' provisions and two on top of those of Nakht





















The bottom image of Nakht is different in the fact that here is shown wearing a short beard and there is no accompanying text . Again, in front of his booth is a pile of provisions, this time different from the ones of the upper image and displayed more clearly. However, unlike the upper registers, the workers of this bottom register are also supplied with provisions. These are located at the left-hand end of the scene, under a tree, obviously less plentiful than those of their master. In the branches of the tree hangs an animal skin of water, from which one of the workers drinks. For some reason the artist has included one bag of corn seed on top of the workers' provisions and two on top of those of Nakht.

• The activities of the bottom register


















The agricultural activities begin in this bottom register .
Several scenes are depicted here, one set separated from the other by an undulating ground level or a creek, which runs along the middle of the image, in the centre of which is enclosed a small lake or pool left by the inundation from the Nile. This certainly gives the imagery a feeling of depth.

The major activity (by size) is that of ploughing, where the two farmers direct their ploughs towards each other, thus forming at first glance a symmetrical composition. However, these two images are different. On the left, the farmer stands erect and reasonably youthful, his plough being pulled by two brown oxen. Whereas, the farmer on the right is bent over his plough and with his partially bold head is obviously much older; his plough is pulled by two black and white oxen. Behind the left-hand ploughman is a naked youth who scatters the seed into the furrows he has made.
To their left, two men pound the ground with mallets, probably breaking up large and hard clods of earth, whilst another scatters seeds into their cultivated soil. Immediately behind this man is the pile of farmers provisions, above which is the tree shading these and the skin of water (these were mentioned above).

Above the undulating separation are two more scenes.
When the Nile flood has receded (in late summer), it leaves behind large pools of water, as shown in the undulating line, in the low-lying agricultural land. This area also remains muddy and is where Egyptian peasants sowed their crops.
The farmers on the left are shown standing up to their ankles in the mud, using hoes to break up the more solid layer below. A seed sower works with them.
On the right, a field worker cuts down tamarisk and mimosa trees at the edge of the cultivation area, thus extending the fields farther towards the desert. Another man works in the wild grassland thus enabling its cultivation.

• The activities of the upper three registers
These registers cover the activities which take place at the end of the growing season. These are to be viewed in the following order: bottom one first, followed by the top one and finally the one between (see the line drawing).

• Bottom register - harvesting









This is divided into three sub-scenes, starting from the right. Three harvesters, each holding a sickle, walk into the tall wheat in order to harvest it. They all point in front of them perhaps towards Nakht who may be overseeing what they do, or perhaps pointing to what still had to be done. The artist has omitted to add the detail of the tall stems of the harvest in front of them, which is included behind them, but did manage to make it a straw colour.

The tall crop of the first scene separates this scene from the one to its left. Here, two workers are trying to close the top of an overfilled container, indicating the abundance of the harvest. The man on the left stands in the usual attitude, whereas his companion is shown in full action, as he leaps into the air to put pressure on a long pole, to try to force the excess into the large basket. Below him is a gleaner gathering the heads of wheat which have fallen to the ground.

At the left edge, two girls harvest flax, which also appears in other tombs, although there seems to be no real connection with the crop being harvested, other than perhaps the time during which it happens. The colour of the background plants is totally different, changing from a straw colour to green, which definitely separates the two scenes within the register. It also highlights the whiteness of the dresses of the two young ladies, thus easily seeing that they wear dresses of different designs, although both are fairly close fitting and reach down to their ankles.

• Upper two registers - winnowing (uppermost), gathering and measuring (below)
Due to a lack of space, the artist has omitted the treading of the corn on the threshing floor by oxen. Thus the action moves immediately from the harvesting to the topmost scene, that of the winnowing.










The winnowing scene is that of the separation of grain from the chaff, which would have taken place on a day when a light breeze was blowing. This would blow away the light chaff, letting the grain fall to the ground. Six men, three on either side, toss the mixture into the air using two scoops, whilst two others stoop in the middle. One picks up more of the mixture from the ground, again with two scoops, whilst the other is provided with two small brooms and brushes the scattered grain towards the central heap. All the men wear white cloths tied around their heads to keep out the dust. The image is very symmetrical, using curves within curves.
Above the scoops of the standing men is an image . This is a goblet stand, above which can be seen the presence of a strange object resembling ectoplasm : it actually consists of a bundled sheaf of corn held within a crescent moon shape. This was thought by Davies to represent an inverted goblet, and that the group evoked an offering to the goddess of the harvests, Renutet. According to Moret and Assman, it is to be considered as representing an offering to Osiris, but an explanation proposed by Capart seems more probable: "Miss Blackman (note: this is the sister of the well known Egyptologist) [...] had the surprise to discover, suspended in a granary in Illahun, the object which appeared in the tombs of the XVIIIth Dynasty. It is a kind of small doll made from the last collected ears, and which was keep until the following season".










The gathering and measuring scene is another well represented image in tombs. This includes two men who stoop to gather and measure the grain, whilst an official watches over them. It is surprising not to see him actually recording their results. Here the artist has drawn the curves of the heaped grain at each end of the scene at different heights, with the men who gather the grain and the official having their feet completely covered. Note that the feet of all the men in the image above have their feet in full view, as if being superimposed on the image, rather than being part of it. Also note that this scene was intended to have been annotated in the blank columns above the activity.

 East wall, north side 










Once again the images of Nakht and Tawy occupying almost the total height of the upper register, with the text above them taking up the rest (see image opposite). Again a pile of offerings stands before them. Instead of being accompanied by scenes of agriculture, behind them are three registers of porters of offerings.

On this side of the wall, unlike the other, there is no lower register. Also, the extreme left edge of the imagery is incomplete.
Even the vertical coloured border has not been produced, along with the end of the top one  . This is not the result of damage, but because it wasn't completed by the artist.

Faint red grid lines are still visible in background areas of the wall, especially around the legs of Nakht and Tawy, which helped the artist in the spacing and proportioning of the figures.

 The Offering scene 

The nine lines of text above the scene describe it as follows (the name of Amon having been removed three times, but this time almost totally removing four columns): "Placing myrrh and incense on the altar [to Amon, to Re-Harakhti, to Osiris the great] god, to Hathor, mistress of Thebes, and to Anubis on his hill, (by) the serving-priest [of Amon, Nakht, justified, and] his sister, the chant[ress of Amon, Tawy,] justified.".

The artist has deliberately made this scene different in many aspects to the one at the other side of of the entrance doorway.

The pile of offerings, which consists of many different items, also contains a dish with white cones of fat, like those offered to Nakht in the other version of the scene. Also, below the main pile of offerings, is a prepared ox carcass which was being prepared previously by two butchers. The lotus flowers resting on the vessels, at the top, have no stems and consist of just one bloom on each.

Nakht, at first glance, appears to be the same as previously. However, he now wears a beard. Even though the text states that he is placing (pouring) myrrh and incense onto the offerings, none can be seen coming from the vessel which he holds, though this was very evident in the other version, where it wasn't mentioned in the text.

Tawy, also appearing as before, this time wears a large semi-transparent over-garment, which drapes over her upper left arm and reaches down to her feet. She also wears an additional bracelet on each arm, just above those on her wrists. Her necklace is also of a different design.

 The bearers of offerings 










Eleven offering bearers are displayed on three registers, with no descriptive text having been either applied or planned (i.e. no blank columns). They bring even more animals and produce to the scene. The items include: papyrus plants, grapes, poultry, wild gazelles and little calves, which are intended not just for the offering of Nakht, but also for the cultic care of the deceased in the afterlife.

The quality of the imagery is, in places, lacking, especially that of the three animals which walk near the legs of the men. In the second register the artist has even painted a "transparent" gazelle, through which can seen the legs of the man who brings it . Obviously much work was still to be done in order for it to be in a finished condition.

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