The entry of the tomb is at the southern end of the courtyard, located slightly to the left of centre ( view sk9078). The width of the door is 0.76m, the thickness 0.45m, the height (rebuilt) is 1.90m. Even though the uprights and the lintel were produced in sunken relief, they have suffered damage.
The texts of the decorated uprights are very mutilated, placed in three columns on both sides ( drawing 039). The columns nearest to the opening have disappeared; those in the middle have survived better, especially on the right; the outer ones are even better preserved.
On the left, the text is addressed to "Osiris, the great God" ( view sk09) and asks for exit during the day, "for the Ka of the child of Kep, the scribe, Userhat". Here that the name of "Osiris" has not been hammered out even by the zealous followers of Akhenaten; even though the great god of the underworld had nothing to do with Amarnian theology. The very damaged end of the name of Ra-Horakhty can however be seen.
On the right, can still be seen the names of Anubis and Hathor, mistress of Thebes ( view sk07).
Although the lintel is damaged, part of the decor can still be recognised ( view sk08). It shows two representations of Osiris, seated back to back, to whom Userhat, followed of his wife, make an offering. On the left, the god wears his crown and has a long hooked beard on his chin. In his hands he holds the Nekhakha flagellum and a large sceptre, the upper part of which has disappeared. In front of him stands a table of offerings. On the other side of the table stands Userhat, holding up his hands in the sign of worship. Standing behind him, his wife holds, with both hands, three long stems, probably of papyrus ( view dpd4033).
On the right, Osiris again holds a sceptre (possibly the was-sceptre) and holds out an ankh, the sign of life, above the table of offerings. Userhat is represented almost identically on the two sides. This time his wife holds a more complex floral composition, including stems of papyrus around which possibly winds convolvulacae - a bind-weed ( view dpd4030). It should be noted that the couple are dressed in splendour, with long wigs (especially the wife).
The entrance corridor is edged by 1.38m wide walls, without decoration (lost perhaps?). Two large sloping steps descend into the transverse chamber A, which extends left and right 1 metre below the level of the courtyard.
|TRANSVERSE CHAMBER (bar of the "T")
Length east-west = 10m; depth north-south = 1.86m (west) and 2.20m (east); height = 2.55m.
This location is traditionally called the antechamber.
The ceilings are preserved particularly well. The geometric motifs are placed in rectangles separated by yellow-orange bands, symbolising mats resting on beams, as found in houses. The false beams are represented by the yellow-orange bands, all are edged with a narrow white band, each of which has a central red line. The texts usually placed on these yellow-orange bands, are only found in chamber B.
On the axis of the entry, are found three of these painted false beams. Between them, the decoration is composed of two areas with an orange-red background, filled with juxtaposed red circles. The inner part of each circle is blue, with a single red dot at its centre.
Laterally, each half of the chamber (A1-east and A2-west) includes three more transverse false beams, which extend east-west, delimiting each side into two oblong areas. The motifs of these are comprised of long red zigzag lines edged in white, separating rows of blue diamonds (which are themselves made of blue crossing zigzag lines) with white centres and a red cross shape, and (in alternate rows) again the blue diamonds but with ochre centres and five red spots.
Both of these designs, with these colours, are typical of the 18th Dynasty.
Length = 4.90m.
The A1 (east) side of the transverse chamber is the portion situated to the left when entering. The north wall is the one located at this side of the entry. Its comprises two separate areas.
First, closest to the door, is a scene of ritual offerings by Userhat, his wife and a daughter.
Beyond this, to its right (east), the area relates to some of the deceased's occupations. The Egyptians placed them in principle to the east, the domain of the rising sun and the living.
Userhat has two main responsibilities: the numbering and the marking of the cattle on the one hand, the registration of the harvests and the distribution of bread on the other.
The numbering of the cattle occupies the upper register and it is subdivided into three, whereas the activities relating to the cereals are on the lower register and are subdivided into two.
All activities are focused on the image of Userhat.
1) - The offering ritual
The wall starts with a ritual of offerings made by Userhat in favour of Osiris, but also of "Hathor, Mistress of the West". He is attended by his wife Mutneferet and one of his daughters. It is worth noting the pink colouration given by the artist in the area of the body covered by the tunic of thin transparent white linen, but also the absence of details in these zones. The black, probably the original colour of the wig, has either disappeared or was never applied. The eyes have also lost their black. The kilt, which descends to the knees, is covered by the fine and ample tunic.
The pale skin of the women (according to Egyptian convention) is covered extensively by the large sheath dress which covers them, whose burst is emphasised by the jewellery with which they decorated themselves. The wife holds a bouquet in her closed right hand, and in the left a lettuce. Their daughter carries a magnificent bouquet surmounted by three open papyrus umbels.
In front of the participants, the offerings are closely piled on the table, up to the height of the register, every layer being separated by a green mat. In the image the greens, blues and red-browns are in place, but the other details, such as the baskets, are only outlined. At the top, can be found various vases, framed by open lotus flowers (note: a reminder that what we are in the habit of calling 'lotuses' are really water-lilies). Between the large vases, of which some are very wide, they are separated by stems of papyrus. Lower still, is a heterogeneous pile, whose details are not always recognisable, of various ducks and other poultry, joints of meat, breads, baskets of grapes, gourds and even a small calf, in the middle and to the left. In the lower part are four braziers on small pedestal tables, associated with bowls of offerings, which will serve for burning meats and aromatic resins. Small dishes contain charcoal tinged in blue. All of this is specified by the underlying text: "Placing the myrrh on the flame for Osiris, First of the Westerners (= the deceased), for Hathor, mistress of the Desert of the west".
Between every brazier is a tall lettuce, a plant appropriate to the god Min. This is the ithyphallique god of procreation. His association with lettuce (of Roman type) is connected, on one hand, to the white sap which flows out of the stems when cut, and from the development of a vertical stem from the central part of the plant if it is not picked.
The scene has partially been disfigured by a clumsily drawn Christian cross.
2) - The three sub-registers dedicated to the livestock of the temple of Amon
At the top, the animals are in pasture, and low bushes can be easily seen in the landscape. Two small calves, of which one is bounding, are present in the centre of the composition.
In the underlying sub-register, drovers holding a stick and a rope direct the animals ( view sb03). The artist was anxious to break the strict rigidity of the composition, thanks to the calves which cavort in front of the adults, and over whom their mothers bend with tenderness.
Behind, a larger bull-calf is manifestly difficult to control! The agitated and fine legs of animals contrast with their massive and static bodies.
The third register shows where these animals are heading: they must be branded. This operation is done by two men, they can be seen applying the hot iron on the hide of the young beasts, which are held with their back on the ground to facilitate the operation ("the young herd of Amon"). Notice the difference between the bony and more rounded forms produced by the bodies of the animals, the postures of the heads, the different angles of the tails towards the body; the drovers and the cattle overlapped each other, and the group displays the over-excited atmosphere of the moment ( view tb072).
The marking of livestock didn't always exist in ancient Egypt. Thus, in the Old Kingdom, there is no trace of it. The practice is, on the other hand, well established to the New Kingdom, and notably from the 18th Dynasty onwards.
To the right of these three registers, are the unavoidable scribes, who record everything. The two at the top are seated cross legged, and write their report on the sheet of papyrus in front of them, including the number, sex and age of the animals. The scene is commented in the text:
"Let's return all the good news of the drovers to the royal scribe Userhat, the Herald's representative". These administrative documents are important for Userhat, who would give accounts to the Palace. This is why they are secured carefully in a chest by a third scribe, after they have been shown to the master.
Userhat is seated, at the extreme right, on a folding stool. He holds in his right hand his long staff of office (notice the small thumb-hook at the top, close to his hand). In his left hand he holds a piece of folder cloth.
3) - Userhat is also responsible for bread, and thus for the grain
In the two underlying sub-registers, it is the final phase of this activity which is shown. Userhat chose to represent the agricultural scenes, so frequently chosen in the tombs of this period. This starts with the lowest of the two registers, very much damaged, but where can still be recognised the harvest, the gleaners, the baskets in the course of being filled, and on the right, three women who pull flax (for linen).
More important for Userhat is the upper sub-register, because it shows a cohort of nine peasants bringing their rich harvest ( view tb074), from which they make heaps in front of the civil servants. The first man, on the left, in front of the millstone, differs from the others; he is dressed in a long tunic of thin linen. He leans on his staff of office, with a slightly bent leg (an attitude which is more normally seen in the Middle Kingdom). All of this indicates that his social status is distinctly higher than those of the poor guys who follow him.
To the right, the leaders of the farmers, respectfully bent, report the harvests to two scribes, who take note carefully. A text comments on the scene: "Receiving the income of the granary of the [Herald] by the great confidant of the Lord of the Two Lands, the true royal scribe, whom the king loves, the Herald's deputy, overseer of the cattle [of Amon], Userhat, justified".
At the far right, Userhat is found in a superimposable attitude to that of the group of upper sub-registers. The better preservation shows his great usekh-necklace. Between the two representations, and obviously to fill a space which would have remained otherwise empty, the artist accumulated various foodstuffs: baskets and birds. Perhaps they were brought by the two men "nose to the ground" in front of their master.
The magical strength of the design and the writing confers eternity to these scenes which show the deceased's integration with the pharaonic system of Ma'at, by means of his participation in general tasks, repeated many times in the funerary scenes of tombs. This should not be misunderstood: for what the deceased hopes, is not to have to repeat the tasks of his terrestrial life in the beyond, but to receive again the honours and recognition which were attached.
The continuation of the scenes appropriate to the civil responsibilities of Userhat is in the A2 (west) side of the chamber, on the south wall. These activities are appropriate to the army, as will be seen below.
Length = 4.00m.
The A2 side of the transverse room, situated on the right (west) on entering, corresponds to the eastern side of the north wall.
It is more logical to continue here, to finish the scenes complementing those appropriate to the civil responsibilities of Userhat with those appropriate to the military. The presence of these scenes in this unaccustomed place is due to the already mentioned geographical problems.
The wall is divided in two distinct parts: the approximate left two-thirds concern the connections of Userhat with the army, and on the remaining third, the deceased's homage to his sovereign, Amenhotep II.
Userhat and the army
This is a rare, very well preserved representation, and certain parts of which contributed to the reputation of the tomb. The wall is divided in two areas, separated by doors, which suggest the presence of a warehouse surrounded by a fence. On the left is represented the outside, whilst on the right is the inside. The two sides form an inversion of each other: to left, the three upper registers correspond to the two lower registers on the right; and the four upper right to the two lower left.
One of the main functions of Userhat, as already seen, was as "Accountant of Bread". With this title, he had to provide the rations of the army. It must be remembered that at this time there was no actual currency. Bread represents a part of the payment made to the soldiers, the remainder of which was also paid in kind.
1) - The three left upper registers
These show the recruits which, empty bag in hand, come to look for what is due them at the entry of the warehouse ( view sb32). Order is maintained thanks to the officers provided with sticks, who make them wait in two parallel lines (notice: that they are in pairs, difficult to distinguish, ( view sb29). In the third register, two trees have been added by the artist to break the monotony. The clothing allows the soldiers to be distinguished one from another. The recruits of the top two registers are clothed in a short kilt with a netting attachment (possibly of leather), those in the lower of the three registers wear a slightly longer, split kilt. The officers wear a plain white kilt and a transparent vest, those of the top row also wear a long transparent skirt over the kilt; the better quality clothing of the officers allows them to be recognised immediately. There are two officers standing among the recruits of the top register. Perhaps the officer on the right is Userhat, since two recruits "kiss the ground" in front of him. It is not possible to be certain, because the inscriptions have not been placed in the columns.
2) - The two right lower registers
These relate to the preceding three registers. The recruits on duty are in the warehouse and head toward the exit, heavily laden with breads which are going to be distributed. A supervisor, who is much shorter than the recruits, is provided with a whip with two thongs, to ensure that all happens correctly. Notice that the artist, once again to break the monotony, varied the colours of their skin.
3 - The four right upper registers
These show an unusual scene of the men having their meal. The act of eating is rarely shown in Egypt, whereas the one of drinking is common. On the two lower registers of the group, the six men are certainly senior officers; they wear tunics and necklaces and some inhale the fragrance of a lotus flower, as if they were the hosts of a banquet. There is even the presence of a servant. Each possesses his own jar of wine or beer, as well as a container for bread. The menu consists mainly of round or triangular breads, but shallow baskets contain other unidentifiable foods.
The eight participants seated on the two upper registers of the group seem to bring all their attention to their loaves of bread (whose number is lower then those of the more senior officers); their great amphora seems to contain water only. Their clothes are identical to those of the men represented on the lower register, but the festive adornments are absent. These are obviously officers of a lower rank.
4) - The two left lower registers
These count among the most famous and rare of the Egyptian paintings, and show an activity which is commonplace in all the armies of the world: the cutting of the hair of the soldiers. Here, the artist gives us an example of his talent, whilst representing the men as live and natural, and with a certain sense of humour.
Two barbers exercise their craft and shave the heads of two recruits who lean forwards.
The barber on the left presents an atrophy of the lower part of his left leg, which typically indicates an after-effect of polyomyelitis ( view tb065, red arrow). On examining the images carefully, the member appears atrophied, and the foot didn't disappear into a lacuna, but is vertical, with the very obvious heel. The general attitude of the subject is also evocative, and differs from that of his healthy colleague on the right (green arrow).
The earliest known representation of this illness is on a stela of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum in Copenhagen, the so-called " polio stela" (thanks to Mogens Jørgensen for the picture). This dates from the end of the 18th or the 19th Dynasty. A photomontage clearly shows the likeness between the attitudes of the characters.
The scene in the tomb of Userhat dates from the reign of Amenhotep II, and would therefore be the oldest (by a little ...) representation in the world of the aftermath of poliomyelitis, confirming the existence of this illness in these remote times.
This observation has been published in the review Göttinger Miszellen - 2010 ( GM 225, 2010). TB
The other recruits wait for their turn. The men are all seated, some on the floor, others on fixed stools or folding stools (nevertheless, in principle they are considered as chairs of nobles). Under the large tree, two men take a nap, whilst to their right, two others share a folding stool.
Userhat in front of Pharaoh Amenhotep (Amenophis) II
The deceased's representation, in front of the living king, at this time is part of the classic scenes in the private tombs since the 18th Dynasty. It is, as a rule, on one of the end walls of the transverse chamber. It represents a scene in which the king is as usual seated under a kiosk, receiving the deceased, who approaches with gifts.
The underlying idea is to reinforce the sovereign's role, who takes care of his devoted civil servants until in the mediation of the passage toward the beyond.
The royal kiosk thus becomes a junction in the passage between the two worlds, a place where the deceased presents to the sovereign the results of his terrestrial activity, and obtains the king's consideration of it, and therefore his favour for his future life.
1) - The Pharaoh
In TT56 this scene has been moved, and the sovereign looks towards the doorway to the rear chamber. The pedestal on which the kiosk stands has been left unpainted, and contains no inscriptions. The top of the kiosk is supported by two columns with the tops being in the form of semi-open lotus flowers. Their stocks are coloured with blue, red and green rectangles, separated by golden bands. They support the coving on which is a frieze of uraei. The coving is painted with narrow vertical blue, red and green rectangles, under which is a the typical Egyptian ladder band using the same colours. From the band hangs bunches of grapes. This light building was probably situated in open air, because behind Userhat, can be seen a pillar which could be the entry to a peristyle court.
The inside of the kiosk is coloured in yellow, from which the king and the inscriptions contrast beautifully. The sovereign is seated on a classic throne of a square shape, with a low backrest. The chair is decorated with horizontal bands (again blue, green and red). The bottom right-hand quarter is painted yellow; this still retains faint traces, in red, of an image of the Sema-Tauy, the emblem signifying the unity of the two lands.
Pharaoh is represented as alive and reigning. Part of his face is damaged, notably the eyes and the mouth, but the typical profile of his fleshy and aquiline nose of Thutmoside type is easily recognisable. He wears a long black wig, shortening towards the nape of the neck. On his wig sits the Andjety-feather-crown, composed of the horns of a ram and cow, combined with two ostrich feathers (dark-blue, light-blue and red), flanked by two uraei. Amenhotep is clothed in a royal red tunic with yellow spots, and with a long kilt. A large yellow belt retains a colourful front projection and the tail of bull. He is adorned with large bracelets around his arms and wrists (in yellow, blue and red) as well as a five row pectoral.
In his left hand, Amenhotep II holds an ankh, the sign of life. With his right hand he makes a very rare but otherwise unique gesture, he waves a battle axe instead of the usual heka (a crook), or the nekhakha (a flail), or, in rare cases, a club.
In the free space, in front of the seated sovereign, are the cartouches with his coronation name and his birth name "Aa-kheperu-Ra", "Imn hetep netjer heqa Uaset" or "Great is the future of Ra", "Amon is satisfied, the god and sovereign of Thebes", surrounded with a short text ( drawing a2_s_08). The group is protected by the image of the tutelary goddess - the snake of Lower Egypt, Uadjet, which coils up and around a papyrus. The text on the left of the cartouches says: "[the king] gives health, life and strength, as Ra, the beloved of Uadjet".
Under the cartouche: "[the king] gives life and strength, eternally".
The king is accompanied by – which is quite rare - bodyguards. They are behind him, to the left of the stela on the west wall; this west wall will be discussed later.
2) - Userhat
As much as one can be sure that Pharaoh is to be thought of as alive, it is necessary to understand that it is a deceased Userhat who advances towards him, after having been his youthful companion, and who became his feudal lord and to whom he has, without doubt, exemplary faith. Indeed, the words "maa kheru" ("justified") which concludes the last line of text at the top, on the left, after his name, are reserved for the deceased ( drawing a2_s_09): "Bringing many beautiful flowers for His Majesty, by the frequent visitor of his Lord, the beloved good God, the one to whom one returns all the news because of his readiness for the king, who leaves the Palace (life, health, strength) as beloved, the accountant of the breads of Upper and Lower Egypt and pupil of the royal school, Userhat, justified".
Dressed in a kilt tied on the navel, and also a fine transparent tunic, Userhat wears on his head a thick wig, but bizarly red. It is not known whether to question or keep the hypothesis that this was the natural colour of his hair. In Thierry's opinion, the wig was intended to be painted in black, but has been left in its initial rough draft state. In a likely concern for humility, Userhat doesn't wear any jewelry. He brandishes in front of himself a construction made of mandrakes surmounted by two clusters of grapes. From the table hang two sets of lotus flowers, and a long twining stem of grapevine full of clusters. On each side are two floral compositions of three stems of papyrus whose umbels are open, and around which are tied corollas of flowers.
Length = 1.86m.
Returning once more to the eastern end of the transverse chamber, the focus is the end wall.
The whole wall is centred by a pseudo false door stela, around which are distributed scenes of funerary significance. Indeed, the false door acts as a magic passage, providing communication between the terrestrial world and the beyond. It is therefore logical that the deceased made through these scenes his rites of passage, which includes the one of "the opening of the mouth".
From a first glance, it is possible to see that the total panel is not symmetrical; with both verticals and horizontals sloping or leaning, even the base line (the red and yellow bands) bows upwards in the middle.
1) - The false door
As in other tombs, this is represented to imitate expensive red Asswan granite, so painted pink and punctuated with red dots. This granite was beyond the means of private tomb owners. To complete the illusion, the hieroglyphic texts are produced in a light-blue, the colour which would have been used on the true granite.
The columns of texts proclaim ( drawing a1_e_03):
"An offering which the king gives to Amon-Ra: That he may give everything which is brought daily to his altar for the Ka of the accountant of the bread, Userhat.
An offering which the king gives to Anubis [...] he may give ... all good and pure things [...] beer offerings and all offerings of the New Year's Day festival [variant: all young plants]. For the ka of the scribe Userhat.
An offering which the king gives to Osiris, the great god, that he may give all [...] things for the ka of scribe Userhat.
The one who is honoured by Amset; Userhat, who became an Osiris.
The one who is honoured by Duamutef, the Osiris, Userhat.
The one who is honoured by Hapi, the Osiris, the scribe Userhat.
The one who is honoured by Kebehsenuef, the Osiris, the scribe Userhat".
In these formulae, reference is made to Ra, Amon, Anubis, and to the Four Children of Horus (see the special article on these). In the New Kingdom, the former offering formulae using the king as intermediary is maintained; nevertheless, it is now the deceased himself who contacts the gods to direct them favourably with regard to himself.
Userhat is not represented on the uprights of the door; but on the other hand, just above of the central part, a small damaged scene shows the couple Userhat and Mutneferet seated in front of a table of offerings ( view tb015).
The four scenes, two each side of the door, are appropriate to the ritual of opening of the mouth: on the left, two scenes of purification; on the right, the use of the traditional instruments.
The two purification scenes, on the left
These show the participants standing on mats. Userhat is seated on a chair with its legs ending in the paws of a lion. He wears a wig and is dressed in a white kilt over which is the long transparent tunic. His right hand is folded on his chest grasping a piece of cloth, which in the top scene hangs over his shoulder. His left hand is outstretched towards the offerings placed on the table in front of him. In both scenes, a lector-priest (Xry-Hbt) pours a purification of water (represented as a blue zigzag line) over Userhat, from a vase.
At the top the vessel used is the nemset. The text identifies the deceased as: "The accountant of bread, Userhat"; The words recited by the officiating priest: "Four times, one turns around him, with four memset-vessels of water. Purity, purity of all the gods which are pure".
Below, the vessel used is the desheret: The recitation of the officiating priest: "Four times, one turns around him, with four desheret-vessels of water. Your purity is that of Horus; The purity of Horus is yours. Purity for your Ka".
The application of the instruments, on the right
The images of Userhat and the table of offerings are the mirror copy of those just seen to the left of the false door.
The ritualist at the top, armed of his long Nua adze, is going to touch the openings of the face, to allow them to recover their functionality, starting with the mouth, as the text specifies (see line drawing, left): "I opened your mouth with the nua tool of Anubis, the one with which is opened the mouth of the gods and goddesses. Pure, pure! Four times".
The lower scene is more damaged than the one above. This time, the priest uses the wer-hekau instrument (lit: "great of magic") and is formed with a serpent-headed blade: "I open your mouth with the wer-hekau tool, the one which opened the mouth of the gods and goddesses".
The site of these scenes in this place isn't random: by referring to the plan, they are at the bottom of the east wall, below which is one of the funerary well shafts, at the bottom of which the burial chamber is excavated. It is therefore a proper place for this ceremony to take place.
2) - The strange register at the top
On the right
Here we find a couple seated in front of a table of offerings, and, in front of them, a character clothed of the panther skin, characteristic of the sem-priests, as officiator. The text ( drawing a1_e_06) informs us of the woman's name: Byky (somewhat unknown) and on the one of the officiating sem-priest, their son Usy. The name of the man has disappeared. The legend says: "Making the royal offering, two times pure, consisting of all good and pure things, henket offerings and all yearly offerings; to breathe the soft breeze of the north every day, for your Kas, twice pure, by your son, [...] (of) Thebes, Usy, endowed with life and blissful". These people were certainly related in some way or other to Userhat.
On the left
This makes reference to a curious link with a certain Iamunedjeh, probably from a generation previous to Userhat, who was "First Royal Herald", "Director of the Portal" during the reign of Thutmosis III (father of Amenhotep II): "idnw wHmw tpy iAmwnDH". He is accompanied by his wife Henutneferet. It has been shown that she cannot be the daughter of Userhat, who shares the same name.
The text ( drawing a1_e_04) proclaims: "The first Herald of his Majesty the Lord of the Two Lands, Iamunedjeh, Justified by the great god; his wife, whom he loves, the mistress of house, the lady of the court, Henutneferet, justified".
Iamunedjeh, known from his own tomb, TT84, situated above on the cliff, was therefore Royal Herald, whilst Userhat was named "Representative of the Herald". Therefore, Iamunedjeh was his superior. The titles often being passed down within the families, the Herald must have been the father or the father-in-law of Userhat
The couple are represented with a large bouquet, the "bouquet of Amon", of which it is specified that it comes from Henket-Ankh, the temple of Millions of years of Thutmosis III ( drawing a1_e_07). This bouquet is usually offered during the Beautiful Festival of the Valley (see next page), when the offerings are traditionally made to the deceased parents. Here, it is the son, Mery, who makes the offering to his parents: "For your Kas, a bouquet of Amon-Ra".
At the foot of the false door, are the remains of a slab which had been created from the natural rock. Originally, it was certainly intended as an offering table.