The entry is located at the south end of the east facing facade. At either side of it, the facade carries the names, titles and representations of the deceased (). Two figures of Kagemni are present on the doorposts of the entrance doorway to receive the visitor. He is represented standing, Sekhem sceptre of power in his right hand, and long cane of office in his left hand ( and ).
The accompanying texts retraces the stages of the career of Kagemni and the good deeds which he accomplished.
The influence of the Osirian religion, which developed at the end of the Vth Dynasty, is notably visible in the last part, the "Great God" to which he makes allusion being Osiris.
Only the lower registers survive, which have completely lost their colours.
1) - The west wall facing the entry
In the fishing scene located here, Kagemni, of whom only his feet remain, appears standing upright on a papyrus boat, itself slipping in the dense papyrus lined marshes whose plants are represented by upright stems. He is evidently fishing in the marshes.
In front of him appears a small boat, also of papyrus, which transports three men dressed in a narrow belt and a flap of material allowing freedom of movement, which normally acts as a loincloth to cover their sex and save embarressment. The one of the rear, squatting on his heels, directs the frail craft. The one of the middle throws a line with several fishhooks (several different species of fish can be seen approaching). At the front, a character obviously makes a considerable effort to raise a heavy hooped net of fish. His minimal loincloth is raised around his shoulders. Among the represented species are: carp, mulet, mormyridae (elephant fish), catfish, synodontes, tilapia … These Nile perch (which are nowadays still found at our fishmongers) are also perfectly identifiable; there are also eels.
Notice how far the artist/craftsman has taken the detail: on the branches immediately in front of the boat, can be seen a frog, a grasshopper dragonfly ( and ).
Other representations of the same type are present ( and ).
Some dangerous animals can also be seen in this hostile environment, where the order required by doesn't reign; so there is a battle between crocodiles ( and ), and crocodiles hunting fish, one among them having made a large catch (). The composition shows well the panic of the potential victims, who flee in all directions.
Because there is an obvious immediate reading for this scene, it is necessary to imagine secondary symbolic one. The marsh is the border zone between the unorganised environment (or Isfet) and the semi-organised one of Egyptian men, in accordance with the will of the gods (this is the zone of Ma'at). While hunting the wild animals, these are also the demons which are hunted and which are thus prevented from penetrating into the most intimate parts of the tomb.
This motif of fishing in the marshes will be seen again in the ford crossing of room III and in the fishing scene of room IV. So it is very much confined to the outer areas of the complex, far from the place where the false door is located and where the offerings are placed.
2) - The east wall
This is the wall in which the entry doorway from outside is located. On the left, around the doorway, can be found the titles of Kagemni (). On the right part of the wall are the servants, carrying or accompanied by various animals, a hedgehog in a cage, calves, and numerous birds of different species. Some plant offerings are transported by other men.
This quite long room leads towards the staircase located at the northern extremity. This leads to the roof. The room is totally undecorated.
An inscribed block had been placed on the ground at the time of my visit ().
( and ). The room includes three badly preserved pillars, symmetrically placed along its east-west axis, on which can be seen some fragment representations of Kagemni and his wife (or wives).
1) - The west wall
Kagemni is found represented at heroic height on this wall, in a pastoral scene of breeding and taking care of the herds.
Two registers can be identified ( and ).
On the left of the first register, a herd crosses a ford. A peasant sitting in boat has the whole herd crossing while attracting the mother with a calf, which he holds by a foreleg and by a rope. The calf tries to swim while turning its head toward its mother and while mooing. This attracts the mother and the whole herd ( and ). At the rear of the herd a drover raises his stick to drive forward the last reluctant oxen. Behind him a man makes to cross the ford with a calf, undoubtedly very young, which he carries on his back… it does not appear to be very happy ().
Crossing the ford is dangerous, not just for the beasts, but also for the men. Indeed, besides the usual fauna of fishes, there are crocodiles and hippos to look out for.
On the second register servants take care of the milking of cows, which have been tethered to stop the animals from moving () and to help keep away the calves which have not yet been weaned, which obviously seek to suckle their mother ().
To the right, two men are seated face-to-face on some sort of thick vegatable matting. They manufacture faggots from stems of papyrus, even though it is difficult to understand the nature of the instruments which they hold in their hands; nevertheless the action is indisputable since the hieroglyphic wording of the scene is "qeni", which means faggot or bundle ().
Another servant, seated in a strange kind of basket, weans a young pig to which he seems to regurgitate milk into its mouth. Note (as an aside) the pig, which is known from excavations to have been abundantly preserved, is hardly ever represented in tombs, probably considered as an impure animal. Besides, it will later become an animal connected to the god Seth ().
2) - The north wall
This wall is punctuated by the entry to room IV.
The larger section, to the west of this doorway, was decorated with two symmetrical scenes showing Kagemni (of which only the legs and feet survive) standing on his boat. He hunts and fishes in the middle of the undergrowth of papyrus (). Below the two representations, a narrow space shows the water filled with many fish.
Close to their master's large craft, and at a much smaller scale, are small boats with hippo hunters and fishermen.
In one of these there are three hunters. Two are armed with harpoons, the third with a club. The men wave their harpoons while pulling the ropes put around the body of the hippos. The large mammals struggle and scream under the effect of the pain ().
The hippopotamus hunt
This is a traditional scene, which appeared in tombs of the Old Kingdom. The Egyptians never liked this unpredictable animal, which could be very dangerous in water and which also destroyed much cultivation. With time, it would become a really malefic animal and associated with the god Seth. It is represented abundantly on the walls of the temples of the Greco-Roman period, as at Edfu for example. It is unknown as to whether its flesh was consumed, in all cases the true hippo hunts seem to have been the exception.
The male hippo also has a negative symbolic value. Indeed, the animal could remain immersed for a long time and then surface suddenly, it was prone to overturn the craft and to kill its occupants.
In the Old Kingdom it was already the image of brutal and uncontrolled, menacing strength, the creation of a return to the original chaos. With the change in funeral beliefs and the deceased having to travel in his boat on the celestial Nile, in order to reach his eternal destiny, the animal will only become more dangerous. This is why it was necessary either to destroy it by harpooning it, or to control it magically at the bottom of water, and it was the role of certain objects, created in glazed ware, where the hippo can be seen with a lotus flower on its back: bearing a lotus it was undoubtably under water (see an example in the Louvre Museum ).
Thus the dual aspect that an animal could take on can be seen in the imagination of the Egyptian: on the one hand it was a living being, which hovered between good and evil. On the other hand, it was assigned a value of a receptacle, of an icon, to embody an inexplicable natural strength. The animal becomes thus the god's hypostase to which has been attributed the phenomenon.
3) - The east wall
Here, Kagemni, of which only his feet remain, was seated in front of a troop of fourteen dancers, dancer-acrobats and women clapping their hands and executing a stance which is difficult to imagine. The bodies are bent backwards, almost horizontally, while both of their arms and a leg are nearly vertical. The way it is represented, they would certainly fall over ().
In the thickness of the entry between rooms III and IV, are represented four servants who transport parts of the funerary equipment of Kagemni. Behind the entrance doorway, on what is the secondary thickness, is found a scene where servants pull a sledge on which is the "statue of the Ka" of Kagemni. This is the statue which was to be placed in the serdab, the room which was then completely closed.
1) - South wall
A cortege of five animals carrying offerings head toward the rear of the tomb, more precisely towards room VII where the offerings are concentrated.
2) - West wall
a) - First register
Here are two similar scenes of bird hunting, using a hexagonal net. The one of left is preserved particularly well (). Both nets have been stretched close to a pool. In each case, beside the poll, stands a solitary palm tree.
When sufficient number of birds are under the net, the man on the right gives the signal and, with his three friends in front of him, they pull violently on the rope, closing the net and trapping the fowl. A few survive, distraught, to escape from the trap ().
On the right, the second scene shows a very full net. The man situated on the right holds a piece of material between his outstretched arms, a signal perhaps for his hidden friends to pull the rope ( and ).
b) - Second register
This is dedicated to a scene of poultry farming.
Three bird cages are represented side by side, surrounded by nets and with a roof sustained by sticks with forked ends (). In front of the first lot of poultry stands a character holding a bag of grain on his right shoulder, letting the grain trickle to the ground. This is a typically conventional representation of Egyptian art, because the character wouldn't perform this action outside the cage of course; he would have entered the enclosure by the small door represented at the bottom. But as the artist would have had difficulty representing him inside, he is shown accomplishing his task "outside" ( and ).
c) - Third register
A large portion of this register is destroyed, but it was dedicated to the force-feeding of geese (). The farmers sitting on the ground prepare pellets which others will forcefully introduce into the gullets of the unhappy birds. This all takes place under a supervisor's unavoidable gaze. Note the various attitudes of the ducks and geese.
d) - Fourth register
Remaining with the actions of force-feeding, this register is very different and a lot more dangerous. In fact it is the force-feeding of animals, in this case hyenas. These animals could never be domesticated, and this is why the Egyptians gave up their exploitation from the end of the Old Kingdom.
However, be that as it may, the scenes represented here are very interesting.
On the left, an single individual forces pieces of poultry into the mouth of a hyena, with its back on the ground, bound by the paws. Further to the right, two men force-feed another animal, one holding it by the tail and the second by a rope around the neck. Next right, two men work around an upturned animal, its rear paws are bound but this is not true for its front paws, which are held by one of the men. Finally, a scribe sits with his back to the last two characters, making notes of everything. This report will be presented to Kagemni by his superior, standing in front of him.
e) - Fifth register
This one is very mutilated, showing some stalls with cattle, and the unavoidable scribe and foreman. Notice that two men work with a single cow, and also that the one doing the milking seems to grasp two different teats at the same time ().
f) - Sixth register
A drover with his ox and scribes, nothing much remains of them.
3) - East wall
This wall is badly damaged. It contains large-sized figure of Kagemni, with his wife Nebty-nebu-khet. The princess stands behind Kagemni, whilst in front can be found his son Teti-ankh, as a small character who holds his father's leg.
The characters receive the contributions of fish resulting from the activity of the servants in the marshes ().
4) - North wall
A scene situated above of the doorway heading towards room V shows Kagemni seated in a sedan-chair, leaning nonchalantly on his right arm, while he holds a cane in the left hand, with the height of his shoulder. He wears a large necklace around his neck.
The chair is transported by 20 men laid out in two teams of ten, each one carries a stick while supporting a pole of the chair on his other shoulder ( and as well as and ). Between the rows, a supervisor, cane in hand, is ready to make his respect. Note the enormous disproportion of the sizes between the Lord and his chair on the one hand, and the other characters on the other.
In front of and behind the palanquin (the covered sedan-chair), two men hold vertical poles which are in fact the handles of its canopy.
We possess an of this type, that of queen Hetepheres, preserved at the Cairo museum.
As highlighted by Jacques Vandier, and as can be seen with the queen's chair - a great difference exists between the real size of the chairs and those that are sometimes represented. Certainly 20 men were not necessary to carry them. Victor Loret provided a very ingenious hypothesis, based on the likeness of the name designating this model of chair and that of the centipede deity: "Sepa". The Egyptian centipede has only 42 legs, here we have 42 legs, counting the number of legs of 10 porters represented on each side, plus one supervisor!
In front of the scene, advance three superimposed nobles, among which are mentioned "his son", but his name is not specified. Immediately above the doorway, can be seen a dwarf holding, by leashes, two dogs and a monkey. The dogs have curly tails and are of the breed "sloughy".