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Showing posts from September 2, 2014

the pilgrimage to Abydos of Userhat

The flotilla consists of five boats. The deceased's barque is the smallest of the five and is situated in the middle. It is surmounted by a white catafalque which covers the mummy and its coffin. The four other barques serve to haul the one with coffin. These have wooden cabins on their decks, whose sides have been painted. Close to the prow is a small platform , surrounded by boards, where the pilot and the depth sounder stand . At the stern is a helmsman. Notice that, the stern of the vessels are decorated with the usual papyrus umbel, the prow includes rare representations of the head of a lion.

The barque situated behind the one with the deceased shows the rowers in action, which confirms (as well as the absence of a sail) that the boat is moving down and across the Nile from Thebes. At its prow a small scene takes place, very much full of life, which shows the depth sounder (for whom the artist has forgotten to represent the depth gauge) …

a very strange horse, but still magnificent.

porters bring various goods: baskets, chests, fans, stands, canes, vases, chairs, etc. They also bring a chariot,  but this has been disassembled . One of the horses,  presents a very strange image, totally in disproportion, but still magnificent.

The funeral procession in the tomb of userehat

during the celebration of the ritual of the opening of the mouth, performed by a sem-priest dressed of a leopard skin. He has survived the damage and is attended by a lector-priest. In front of them are the necessary implements for the ritual and the chest which contained them, as well as offerings and traditional aromatics. Behind the two priests are the mourners, whose representations have not been finished. Nevertheless, the group of three crouching women, who hold their left hands on their heads (a gesture signifying that they cover themselves with dust), present a certain something which draws attention to them  Several more female mourners stand behind them.

Behind them arrives the long procession. It is necessary to understand that it is on the path leading to the tomb, and that close to it, small light buildings would have been constructed to place the offerings. These are displayed above the procession depicted in the two registers.������…

The scene of the Polyomyelitis in the tomb of Userhat

No one seems to have noticed that the barber on the left presents an atrophy of the lower part of his left leg, which typically indicates an after-effect of polyomyelitis . This shows well on examining the images carefully: the member is atrophied, and the foot didn't disappear into the small damaged area which has removed the feet of the man seated in front of him, but is vertical, with the very obvious heel. The general attitude of the subject is also evocative, and differers from that of his healthy colleague on the right , and the above stated
To date,
 the earliest known representation of this illness is on a stela of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum in Copenhagen, the so-called "polio stela". This dates from the end of the 18th or the 19th Dynasty. A photo montage clearly shows the likeness between the attitudes of the characters. 


The scene in the tomb of Userhat dates from the reign of Amenhotep II, and would…