This tomb is one of the best preserved at Thebes, owing to its not having been exposed to modern ravages. It was found in the work of Mr. Robert Mond, who has done so much for the safety and care of these tombs, hitherto so strangely neglected by the Government and the Societies that have worked at Thebes. The painted chapels at the southern capital are hardly secondary in value and interest to the great sculptured chapels of Saqqareh.  

 

In the frontispiece is a harvest scene which shows how the Egyptian could grasp actions in his memory, and reproduce them like a Japanese for we cannot suppose that he got models to pose for all these lively little groups in action. The Egyptian always cut off the ears of corn close, and left the straw to be pulled up afterwards whole and sound. The two men are carrying off a net full of ears to be threshed. 

The Tomb of Menna

 The Tomb of Menna

Below them amid the standing straw are two girls fighting. The right- hand one (a) has evidently been kneeling down to gather up the ears that she has gleaned ; the other girl (b) has run forward to dispute her right to them, and B has seized the wrist of A with her right hand, and clutched the hair of A in her left, A retaliates as well as she can by seizing B's hair in her right. 

 

So far A is checked, but B cannot do anything, and is worsted in the matter of hair-grip. There the squabble has waited for three thousand years.  Beyond is a sycomore fig tree, which casts its thick shadow, and bears its tough fruit close to its branches. A boy is sitting at rest on a stool, while another boy plays on a long pipe, like a modern zammareh, not a flute blown sideways, as has been described. 

 

Over his head hangs a water skin, hung up in the cool shade to evaporate, and give a cold drink ; observe that the neck is tied back separately, so that it should be loosened to get a drink, without shifting the skin. It is a curious sign of the comfort of the times that boys out in the harvest field have well- carpentered stools to sit upon, and do not lounge as best they can ; certainly no modern Egyptian would think of such a luxury. 


The Tomb of Menna


The Tomb of Menna
 

In the lower scene are two more little gleaners. One has a thorn in her foot ; so she has seated herself on her gleaning bag, and stretches out her leg for her companion to remove the thorn. The friend's gleaning bag lies on the ground between them, just such a bag of coarse fibre as is commonly found in the period of the New Kingdom. A boy is stripping the heads off flax stems by pulling them through a forked stick fastened to the ground.



The general well-being of the people is seen by the gleaning girls the poorest people wearing a long maids down to the ankles. The boys and men naturally only wear the usual waist-cloth. Both the men and one of the boys, however, have the leather net over it, made of slit leather work, to take the wear of sitting and rubbing about.  On the previous page is a part of a scene of the wife and daughters in a boat with Menna, drawn with perfectly unfaltering and even lines. 

The Tomb of Menna

The Tomb of Menna

Below, the ducks flutter and quack in the lotus pool as the boat advances ; and one of the girls leans over the side to pick the lotus buds as they pass. It was in the clearance of this tomb that a charming statuette was found, two views of which are here given as the Portraits of this quarterly part. On comparing the profile with that of the wife in the boat scene, it is so precisely like that we must see in this figure the wife of Menna. Why is her face perfectly preserved while not a trace of her husband's statue is to be found? The state of the tomb shows that there was a special spite against him. 

 

His throwstick in the picture is cut in two ; his figure viewing the estate has the eye gouged out that he may not see; 'the measuring rope for his fields has the knots scraped away; his hand in spearing the fish is destroyed. Yet there was no ill-will to his gracious wife, her face and figure remain on the wall and in the statuette. For the photographs of the figure we are indebted to Mr. Mond, as also for the cast of the figure (which is now in the Cairo Museum), from which the portrait on the cover is taken. The tomb scenes I photographed in 1909.




Reading Mode :
Font Size
+
16
-
lines height
+
2
-