Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Old Mummification Museum lectures - TT37 TT279

Mummification Museum Lecture - Silvia Einaudi Harwa and Pabasa
Harwa & Pabasa

Dr Silvia Einaudi – Researches in the tombs of Harwa TT37 and Pabasa TT279 12/11/06

Dr Silvia opened the lecture by dedicating it to Dr Mohammed El Soghair (There is more about him and his work with the team on their excellent website www.harwa.it)

Harwa lived around 700-680 BC in the reign of Shabita and Tarhaqa 25th Dynasty. There are 8 statues of Harwa known 3 cubic or block statues, one of him with his parents, one with 2 goddesses and three Old Kingdom seated scribe styles, only one of which has a head but this is quite clearly a portrait. His title was Great Steward (Butler) of the Divine Adoritist. His tomb is situated in the middle of the Assasaif area, built on the processional way of Mentuhotep, with an entrance at the south. At the time his tomb was built the processional way of Hatshepsut’s temple was still being used for the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. It is between the tombs of Montumonet and petamenophis.

The tomb is divided into an entrance, vestibule, courtyard; it then goes underground with 2 pillared halls and a shrine to Osirus. There is a very long corridor (NB you might want to look at the plan on the website when reading this) which goes around and this is thought to replicate how Osiris was buried on an island. This corridor deviates at various points to avoid older tombs. The shape is reminiscent of the contemporary pyramid of Tarhaqa.

The tomb can read as a path or journey going through life (1st hall), death (2nd hall) and then rebirth (Osiris shrine).


Part of the text reads ‘I gave bread to the hungry and clothes to the naked’ and this is a Renaissance of a 1st Intermediate Period inscription


Anubis is shown grasping the hand of Harwa who is obviously alive at this point and has a big belly and pendulous breasts.


This also has a picture of Anubis grasping his hand but now he is a slim young man. The partially complete inscription shows Anubis with what seems like two faces, one carved the other drawn and it seems like the artist changed his mind and had Anubis facing the same way as in the previous ‘Death’ area. The redundant part should have been covered with stucco or similar if it had been finished. Pabasa who copies much of Hawra’s tomb copies this mistake exactly.

The shrine has an image of Osiris in front of a staircase and there is a small statue of Harwa looking at it for eternity.

Slides were shown of the condition of the tomb in 1995 with the 1st hall piled with debris; the team has rebuilt the pillars with plywood. The blocks are copied onto clear sheets and these can be laid next to one another. As the text is the same as Pabasa it is easy to identify. The team have copied all the pillars of Pabasa which are in much better condition and these help tremendously with Harwa. In some cases digital photographs are taken of interesting pieces and those with joins (so two different scenes) and these have been pieced together in some cases. The pillars have Rituals of the Hours of the Night on the south side and the Day on the north side which represent the eternal journey of the sun.

In the 2nd hall the pillars were in much better condition and 3 of them remain, they were very dirty (a slide was shown that looked totally black on one side and with inscriptions on the other). The inscriptions are from chapter 15 of the book of the dead and the ritual of the opening of the mouth.

The tomb then divides into 2 at this point with the soul carrying on its journey at the existing level into the Osiris shrine and the body descending into another subterranean level. At the lowest point on this level Chamber 9 is thought to be the burial chamber but there was no sarcophagus or coffin so it is not clear if he was buried here.


This contain scenes of daily life, on one wall there are representations of fisherman preparing to catch fish from a pool and from the pillar facing this the same (?) fisherman is shown preparing the fish, cutting and drying.. These were also copied in Pabasa but only on the pillars not on the wall. There were also pieces found with bees on them and these were similar to scenes in Angkor(?spelling) which show bees and honey


A 2nd century AD portrait mask and a biscuit tin from a company whose name translates as ‘I don’t care’!!!

The other side of the courtyard was not complete but had some graffiti of an arms dealer R Gimbal left there.

The north wall had offering bearers, the top levels being carved and the lower registers drawn only. There was nothing on the =pillars

The style of the relief’s is that of the Old Kingdom mastabas at Sakkara and Memphis and it is possible that artists from Memphis travelled to Kawa where Tarhaqa built and decorated a temple and then travelled back via Luxor decorating the tomb of Harwa. There are similarities in design between the temple and the tomb design (difficult to describe without the plans shown on the slides).

There are other Memphite connections

The ‘death’ area has the Aphis Bull, Harwa and Anubis and the Rebirth area Imertet, Harwa and Anubis. It is possible there was a connection between Thebes and Memphis through the Apis and Imertet. Possibly the journey of the Memphite artists was also metaphysical and Thebes became the place of rebirth. There is an inscription of Chapter 106 of the Book of the Dead ‘Giving Joy in Memphis’ and Pabasa has the same chapter.

There is another connection of a scene of the tjeref dance and Mastaba 6020 has the same dance.

One of the most interesting finds is an ushabti of Harwa which instead of carrying the normal hoes has a crook and flail indicating the connection with royalty and the very high position that Harwa held.

Next week Francesco is going to talk more about the work of the Italians in Thebes. Again as always I welcome corrections or amplifications especially of my spelling!!

Posted by Jane: - 10:47 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 8th, 2006

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