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Reliefs from the Tomb of Nespekashuty

Period:
Late Period, Saite
Dynasty:
Dynasty 26
Reign:
late reign of Psamtik I
Date:
656–610 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Nespekashuty (TT 312, MMA 509), bottom of west wall of outer hall, MMA excavations, 1922–23
Medium:
Limestone, paint
Dimensions:
as displayed: L. 303 × H. 127 × Th. 10 cm (9 ft. 11 5/16 in. × 50 in. × 3 15/16 in.) main section of relief as displayed: L. 245 × H. 106.5 × Th. 10 cm (96 7/16 × 41 15/16 × 3 15/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
23.3.468
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 127
After a lapse of some three centuries in the construction of decorated tombs at Thebes, high officials of the late 25th dynasty and the 26th dynasty again built elaborate tombs in Thebes, and decorated them with fine limestone reliefs. Earlier Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom temples and tombs in the Asasif valley offered subject matter and inflected their style.

The vizier Nespekashuty took over the terrace of an old Middle Kingdom tomb cut into the north cliff at Deir el-Bahri near the Dynasty 11 temple of Mentuhotep II and the Dynasty 18 temple of Hatshepsut. This scene from his tomb depicts an episode from Nespekashuty's funeral, in which the barge bearing his coffin and the officiating mortuary priest clad in leopard skin is towed across the river to the necropolis on the west bank. The scene is particularly influenced by 18th dynasty tombs, but is also very close in some respects to the parallel scene in the contemporary tomb of Mentuemhat, suggesting a possible relationship of the artistic teams for the two tombs. The tomb's creators seem to have also felt a particular affinity for the manneristically elongated eyes and brows of the lively Theban 11th dynasty style.

Work on his tomb was never finished, and many of the extant reliefs show varying degrees of completion, ranging from preliminary drawings in red paint to finely carved reliefs. Several of these intermediate stages are preserved in this relief fragment
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