Part of a painted tomb-wall, stone: scene of Asiatic tribute-bearers in two registers. Visitor graffito on left edge (top).
- 1400BC (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Tomb of Sobekhotep
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Tomb of Sobekhotep (Thebes))
- Height: 122 centimetres
- Width: 150 centimetres
- Thickness: 20 centimetres
- Width: 129 centimetres (Painting only)
PM I Part 1: p. 126;
Dziobek and Abel Raziq, Das Grab des Sobekhotep, Taf. 3, 33;
N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 146-50.Strudwick N 2006
These fragments are almost as well-known as the famous Nebamun tomb paintings. Sebekhotep's tomb is located on the West Bank at Luxor, at the north end of the hill of Sheikh Abdel Qurna, the site of the tombs of most of the high officials of the Theban region in the Eighteenth Dynasty before the reign of Amenhotep III. Unfortunately, the decorated chapel is quite badly damaged, and suffered the attentions of robbers in the twentieth century AD: photographic records of the tomb made by Harry Burton of the Metropolitan Museum of Art between about 1926 and 1940 show several substantial fragments which had disappeared when the tomb was studied and published in the early 1980s. Nonetheless, the paintings which survive in situ are brightly coloured and beautifully executed.
Sebekhotep was an important treasury official in the reign of Thutmose IV (c. 1400-1390 BC), bearing the title 'overseer of the seal', in effect the minister of finance. He was the son of Min, who had held the same title in Thutmose III's reign. It is likely that Sebekhotep was mayor of the Faiyum region before attaining his highest title in Thebes; as his father came from the Delta, it is possible that, like many other Theban officials, he came south at the king's request.
Six fragments of this tomb are in the British Museum (registration nos. 1852,0223.1 and 1869,1025.1-5). All but 1852,0223.1 were donated in 1869 by Henry Danby Seymour, MP; 1852,0223.1 was purchased from J.W. Wild in 1852. Wild was a draftsman with the Lepsius expedition to Egypt in 1842-5, and it seems plausible that he brought this fragment back with him. Another fragment originally in his possession was sold by his family to the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1926. It is unclear how Seymour obtained his fragments, although his interest in biblical history may have taken him to Egypt; he said that his fragments were taken from the tomb in about 1844. This was around the time that Sebekhotep's tomb was first noted by Lepsius' expedition, and Lepsius himself commented that fragments had already been taken from tombs by travellers. The scenes were painted on a wall plaster consisting largely of mud, which unfortunately has made it easier to detach pieces from the walls.
This is the largest fragment of the tribute scene (see also registration nos. 1852,0223.1 and 1869,1025.3-4). At the left of the sub-registers here are several vessels, similar to those shown elsewhere in the scene. Two pairs of men in Asiatic dress do obeisance to Sebekhotep and (by inference) to the king at the beginning of each sub-register, while behind each is a row of standing men carrying vessels. Several of these are most elaborate, and are made of gold inlaid with semi-precious stones; the others are probably also of metal. One man leads a small girl by the hand, while another bears a vessel probably made from an elephant tusk.
3 May 2012
Firtst Aid - re-attach/secure lamination to edge of paint area
The object's composition make it inherrently fragile.; it's made up of a mud-straw base over which lies at least one layer of gypsum followed by the paint layer, probably bound with a gum.The wall painting is embedded into a painted plaster mount and encased by a wood frame. The plaster mount is flush with the surface. While the plaster mount is overall stable the wall painting is very fragile. There are severe cracks along the edges with several areas more attached to the mount than the painting. There are several hollow sounding areas across the painting. The pain layers are fragile. To the upper proper right side an are of the paint on the plaster mount has bowed upwards and since it is attached on one side to a cracked area, a fragment of the painting has also lifted.
The purpose of this treatment was to provide first aid and re-attach the lifting fragment:In order to avoid tension to the lifting pain layer the bowed paint layer of the plaster was mechanically cut in half. The modern paint was then carefully removed from the edge of the painting's paint layer using Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone). The mudstraw base under the fragment was then first consolidated with 30% Primal B60H (acrylic) over Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) used as a wetting agent, then the fragment was the carefully pushed down and reattached also using 30% Primal B60H (acrylic). The outer edge was secured with an underfill of a thin slurry of ) Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) in 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol). The slurry fill was then colour matched with Rowney's Cryla colours (acrylic)
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA60914
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