sábado, 2 de enero de 2016

Tombs of Meketre and Wah, Thebes


Tombs of Meketre and Wah, Thebes
Egypt
1920
Meketre's tomb was first briefly explored by Egyptologists Daressy and Mond in 1895 and 1902, respectively. The Metropolitan Museum Expedition, under the direction of Museum Egyptologist Herbert E. Winlock, undertook a thorough excavation of the tomb and its model chamber in 1920. Objects in the Museum from the tombs of Meketre and Wah are in galleries 105 and 106.
Background
The hills of the Theban necropolis, on the west bank of the Nile opposite modern Luxor, are studded with tombs used and reused during much of Egypt's pharaonic period and later. One of the most important earlier structures belonged to "the Overseer of the Seal" and "the Chief Steward" Meketre, whose career stretched between the reigns of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre (ca. 2051–2000 B.C.) and Amenemhat I (ca. 1981–1952 B.C.); the period marks the transition from the end of Dynasty 11 to the beginning of Dynasty 12. The tomb is located high on a cliff behind the hill now known as Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.
A broad, steep causeway led up the hillside to the front of the tomb, originally sheltered by a columned portico. The tomb itself consisted of a long corridor cut into the bedrock that ended in a square room, which contained the entrance to the burial chamber. Parts of the structure were lined with a higher-quality limestone and decorated with fine, exquisitely painted relief. A second, parallel tomb was built for a man named Intef, certainly a close relative of Meketre. On the right side of the portico, a small, rough tomb was constructed for a man named Wah, who served in Meketre's household.
Excavations
Although most of the tomb of Meketre was looted in ancient times, the robbers overlooked a rough opening in the floor of the corridor that gave access to a small chamber. Inside, the excavators found "a small, totally untouched chamber crammed with myriads of little, brightly painted statuettes of men and animals and models of boats." The twenty-four wood models depicted the production of various foods and craft items, including bread and beer, carpentry, and weaving. Each small figure was delicately rendered and carefully posed. Other models depicted ships under sail or being rowed. Two exquisite female figures represent personifications of the estates that would have provided funerary offerings for the deceased. These models did not merely depict daily life in Egypt, but rather the production of the items that would sustain the deceased in the afterlife.
The small adjacent tomb of Wah was also found intact. Wah's burial is notable for the masses of linen used to wrap and protect the mummy, a gilded wood and cartonnage mask, and a fine wood statuette of the owner. When the mummy was x-rayed in 1935, various items of jewelry were observed. When the mummy was unwrapped in December 1939–January 1940 (a process no longer condoned by archaeologists), the jewelry included a magnificent silver scarab.
Met Museum
metmuseum.org









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