Painting from the tomb chapel of Nebamen: fragment of polychrome tomb-painting divided into two registers. In the upper register a herd of cattle is brought to Nebamen; in front of the cattle the herdsmen bow down to a standing scribe who records the produce. The vertical hieroglyphic caption is damaged, and only a few-phrases can be read. In the lower register a man drives cattle towards some seated scribes. Two horizontal registers of hieroglyphs survive above.
- 1350BC (circa)
- Found/Acquired: Tomb of Nebamun
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Tomb of Nebamun (Thebes))
- Height: 58.5 centimetres (max)
- Width: 97 centimetres (painting only)
- Width: 106 centimetres (whole fragment)
Inscription Positionlower register
Inscription TranslationCome on! Move off! Don't speak in front of this favoured one (Nebamen). People who talk are his horror! He does what is true; he will not pass over any complaint. Pass on (?) quietly, truly! He will not just do the bidding of people - he knows everything, does the Scribe and Counter of Grain of [Amun] Neb[amen]!
Inscription CommentPainted. Said by a cattle driver to his colleague in front who is bowing to Nebamen's scribe.
Inscription Positionupper register
Inscription Translation...] boasting of
...] an instance of what people say
It probably occupied the lower half of the same wall as the goose count (.37978), although the hieroglyphs in the two fragments are painted in different colours (black and blue). The texts are not quite written in classical Middle Egyptian like the formal texts in the tomb chapel, but they are still very remote from what such workers would actually have spoken.
In the lower register inscription, the name of the god Amun/Amen has been removed, presumably as part of Akhenaten's reforms when monuments had the divine names of the old regime erased.The tomb chapel must thus have been accessible during his reign.
B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' I (Part 2) (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 817-18;
L. Manniche, 'Lost Tombs: A Study of Certain Eighteenth Dynasty Monuments in the Theban Necropolis', Studies in Egyptology (London and New York, 1988), 136-57, esp. 144-5.
A. P. Kozloff, B. M. Bryan & L. M. Berman, 'Aménophis III, le pharaon-soleil' (Paris 1993), p. 237 [Fig.IX.22] = 'Egypt's Dazzling Sun' (Cleveland, 1992), p. 298 [Pl.30] ; Johnson in M. L .Bierbrier (ed.) 'Portraits and masks : burial customs in Roman Egypt' (London, 1997), p. 102, [pl.14.1];
N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 174-5.
Full publication: R. Parkinson, The Painted Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun: Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art in the British Museum (London: British Museum Press 2008).
A. Middleton and K. Uprichard (ed.), The Nebamun Wall paintings: Conservation, Scientific Analysis and Display at the British Museum (London: Archetype 2008).
Hotung II, Art And Memory, 26 Mar 2003 to Sept 03
- May 2004 – Analysis Of A Lifting Coating And Two Waxes On The Nebamun Wall Painting Census Of Cattle (Ea37976)
- April 2004 – Analysis Of A Coating On The Nebamun Wall Painting Census Of Cattle (Ea37976)
- January 2004 – Analysis of surface coating on the Nebamun wall painting “Cattle bought for inspection” (EA 37976)
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: YCA67998
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.