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Tomb of Pabasa (TT279)

Pabasa, who was also called Pabes, has a large tomb at Asasif, just outside the entrance to Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri. Like Ankh-hor, who held this important title after him, he was the ‘Chief Steward of the God’s Wife Nitocris’ (Neitiqert) during the reign of Saite king Psamtek I.

 Pabasa’s tomb still has a large mudbrick superstructure. A steep flight of stairs leads down to the entrance of the subterranean levels and on the lintel above the doorway is a fine relief of a barque, adored by the souls of Pe and Nekhen, by the God’s Wife, Nitocris and by the deceased.

 A small vestibule leads to a larger pillared sun court. The vestibule shows scenes of Pabasa’s funeral procession, including mourners and the ‘Abydos Pilgrimage’. There is a long text of Pabasa and depictions of his son, Thahorpakhepesh, who acted as sem-priest at his father’s funeral.

 On the inner lintel of the entrance to the court, a relief shows Osiris and Re-Horakhty, in the centre of a double-scene, with Pabasa and Nitocris and cartouches of the king (Psamtek I) and his daughter Nitocris on either side. The sun court is open to the sky and therefore well lit, with three square pillars on each of its eastern and western sides. The most important scenes are on the pillars and these give us a great deal of detail about the daily activities in the estate of the Divine Adoratrice. The pillars include scenes showing a bedroom being prepared, men spinning, netting and cleaning fish and catching birds with a throwstick. In Pabasa’s tomb there are also rare scenes of beekeeping as well as viticulture and picking fruit. The reliefs are very finely carved. Around the walls of the court Pabasa is shown in many offering scenes and long texts with beautifully painted hieroglyphs.


Beyond the sun court is a hall containing eight pillars, part of which was decorated but is now very damaged. The pillars were also decorated with deities and texts on the sides facing the central isle. At the rear of the hall a decorated niche contains Pabasa’s burial shaft. His granite sarcophagus is now in Glasgow Museum.
Several other chambers containing burial shafts are accessed from the rear of the hall.

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