Length: 169.000 cm
Height: 37.000 cm
Thickness: 14.000 cm
Gift of the
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Fragment of wall relief showing the attendants of Djehutyhotep
From the tomb of Djehutyhotep, Deir el-Bersha,
12th Dynasty, around 1850 BC
As nomarch, or governor, of the 15th Upper Egyptian nome (province), Djehutyhotep was an important man. His tomb is the most impressive of those at the nomarch necropolis of Deir el-Bersha, and is particularly renowned for the scene (now destroyed) of four teams of men dragging a huge statue of him.
This raised relief fragment of painted limestone from his tomb shows part of his retinue. The scene depicts a procession of attendants led by a bowman. Four men carry Djehutyhotep's carrying chair, below which walks his dog, Ankhu. Behind the chair and the dog comes a 'trusty seal bearer' followed by his servant. Others, possibly Djehutyhotep's bodyguard, carry weapons. The dress of the men makes a distinction between their function and status; those with the long kilts are probably the senior officials, while those with the short kilts are more likely to be the regular guards.
The quality of the carving is very high, and the colours of the painting are very well preserved. This allows us to see some interesting details that would otherwise be lost; for example, the heads of the seal bearers and servants are newly shaven. Their skulls, normally covered with hair, are a lighter colour than their faces and bodies.
P.E. Newberry, el Bersheh I (London, 1894)
E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)
T.G.H. James, Ancient Egypt: the land and it (London, 1988)
S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)