- Museum number
Part of a painted tomb-wall, stone: scene of Asiatic tribute-bearers in two registers. Visitor graffito on left edge (top).
- Production date
- 1400BC (circa)
Height: 122 centimetres
Thickness: 20 centimetres
Width: 129 centimetres (Painting only)
Width: 150 centimetres
- Curator's comments
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.
- Not on display
- fair (incomplete)
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BS.923 (Birch Slip Number)