A feast for Nebamun

Thebes, Egypt
Late 18th Dynasty, around 1350 BC

A sensual celebration of new life

An entire wall of the tomb-chapel showed a feast in honour of Nebamun. Naked serving-girls and servants wait on his friends and relatives. Married guests sit in pairs on fine chairs, while the young women turn and talk to each other. This erotic scene of relaxation and wealth­ is something for Nebamun to enjoy for all eternity.

The richly-dressed guests are entertained by dancers and musicians, who sit on the ground playing and clapping. The words of their song in honour of Nebamun are written above them:

The earth-god has caused
his beauty to grow in every body...
the channels are filled with water anew,
and the land is flooded with love of him.

Other fragments of this wall are now in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lyon, France.

Some of the musicians look out of the paintings, showing their faces full-on. This is very unusual in Egyptian art, and gives a sense of liveliness to these lower-class women, who are less formally drawn than the wealthy guests. The young dancers are sinuously drawn and are naked apart from their jewellery.

A rack of large wine jars is decorated with grapes, vines and garlands of flowers. Many of the guests also wear garlands and smell lotus flowers.

M. Hooper, The Tomb of Nebamun (London, British Museum Press, 2007)

R. Parkinson, The painted Tomb-chapel of Nebamun. (London, British Museum Press, 2008)

A. Middleton and K. Uprichard, (eds.), The Nebamun Wall Paintings: Conservation, Scientific Analysis and Display at the British Museum (London, Archetype, 2008)

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Height: 88.000 cm
Width: 119.000 cm
Thickness: 22.000 cm

Museum number

EA 37984, EA 7981


Salt Collection


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