You are on page 1of 7
VI CONGRESSO INTERNAZIONALE DI EGITTOLOGIA Atti LOREDANA SIST, Roma The Reliefs of Tomb n. 27 at the Asasif The tomb n. 27 at Thebes, which belongs to Seong, Highsteward of the Divine Adoratress Ankhnesneferibre, is the field of the excavations of the Univer- sity of Rome “La Sapienza” since 1970. The tomb is very badly damaged: a fire has ab antiquo destroyed the struc- tures of the lower level. The pillars of the open court and of the pillared hall, and also the roof of this last room have collapsed and the walls have lost most of their decoration. Fragments of texts and of figured scenes have been recovered all over the tomb, and their identification and reassemblage is very difficult. The existence of models has helped the restoration of texts and the recontruction of their original place (pillars for exemple), but the recomposition of figured scenes seems to be more complicated. Most of the blocks in fact have no point of con- nection on the walls and if some time it is possible to understand to which type of scene a single scattered piece belongs to, it is instead impossible to identify its original settlement. Walls have in some part preserved marks of decoration, but unfortunately only for a few fragments we were able to find out the exact point of replacement. ‘Anyhow, in spite of this dramatic situation, in our last season of work, we had the opportunity of recovering most of the blocks which borded the eastern false door of the open court. Before beginning to illustrate this kind of work, I should like to speak briefly of the tomb and in particulary of the distribution of the scenes. Tomb n. 27, as most of Theban saitic tombs, was formed by a superstructure in mud bricks, still partially preserved, and an understructure dug in the lime- stone. Figured scenes were carved in the stone and all belong obviously to the understructure. This part of SeSonq’s tomb was formed by a staircase, a trans- versal vestibule, an open court flanked by two pillared porches, and a pillared hall in which the funerary pit was settled (fig. 1). The Mission is actually busy exploring the pit, which infortunately, as however for the whole tomb, involves difficult and long propping work. The pillared hall (fig. 1 m), as far as we can judge, was completely decorated with texts, except for small and simple vignettes which adorned the upper part of the pillars. The walls of the staircase (fig. 1 a) also were covered with texts and we find the first two figures of SeSong just besides the entrance. The vesti- bule and the open court were instead widely decorated (fig. 1 b). Two or three 485 rows of figures adorned most of the walls. At the end of a scene we find, as usual, the figure of the master of the tomb, carved in a bigger size and in high relief. Seong is represented standing or sitting, clothed in elaborated dresses. The figures which form the scenes are usually carved in sunk relief, they are simpler in de- tails, but engraved with particular care. Apart from the icongraphical point of view, we can say that all the scenes of tomb n. 27 present a good standard of execution. The better finished ones are those of the passage (fig. 1 g-h), through which one passes from the open court to the pillard hall. They are all executed in high relief and represent rows of offering bearers in front of SeSonq. Flanking the passage there are two false doors of different size. The western one occupied the whole wall from the corner of the passage to the first pillar of the porch, and was adorned by a series of offering bearers partially preserved (fig. 1 i). The cen- tral part of the false door presents a boat surmonted by a winged solar disk over a text which belongs to chapter 15 of the Book of the Dead. ‘The eastern false door is almost completely destroyed, except for the wainscot and the connections of the torus moulding which give us its exact wideness (fig. 1). In fact this false door was smaller than the other one and left an empty space towards the corner of the passage, a sort of jamb. We were able to ascribe to this space a series of blocks decorated with offering bearers. First of all we must say that a real attempt of reconstruction of the figured scenes was undertaken only during the last season of work. Problems of organizing excavation work did not allow us to begin a contemporary study of scattered figured blocks. This was made possible when the blocks stored in the vestibule were transfered in a storehouse obtained in an ancient cave adjacent to the vesti- bule itself. The jamb of the eastern false door which was recently recomposed, is an emblematic exemple of the kind of work we must face. As we have already said, no help is given us by the place where blocks were found. The decoration of the tomb was carved directly on the original limestone walls or, when stone was not usable, on specially cut blocks. The fire which destroyed the tomb, has caused the bursting of the upper part of the walls; blocks were spread all over the tomb and sometimes they were found outside the tomb itself. For the reconstruction of the jamb we were helped by the form of blocks. All of them present two worked surfaces which means that their original position was on a corner. Actualy the only available corner in the tomb is, as we have al- ready said, between the eastern false door and the central passage. The depth of the blocks agrees with the partially preserved background rock and the colour of the stone — which is an other important revealing element — is uniform. Moreover the reliefs show the same features in carving, shape and details. In fact every group of scenes differs lightly from the others. Even though the general ornamental design is the same all over the tomb and the style is a very cohesive one, the execution seems to have been made by various hands, quite surely belonging to the same school. ‘The jamb presents five figures of offering bearers facing Est, three males and two females arranged alternatively, heavily laden with different sort of gifts (fig. 2). ‘The alternate arrangement was suggested to us by the western false door which 486