The east wall, the banquet

As very often in the Theban tombs, the religious motive of the offering is at first sight associated with the more secular motive of the banquet. Of the three upper registers on the eastern wall, the first two are reserved for musicians and guests, the third for the bearers of offerings. It is the same organization as in the banquet of the first room.

The musicians

The tomb of Amenemhat is one of the main sources for the study of secular music in the New Kingdom. The study of music scenes in the tombs of this period shows that music is generally performed by a trio, except in the case of a blind harpist, and is present in almost all funeral banquets.

As in the first hall of the tomb, a group of musicians accompanies the banquet at the start of the two upper registers.

In the first register

In the first register, a woman plays a harp, the same instrument as that of Iahmes in the banquet of the first hall. She is also half-kneeling, but she holds the instrument much closer to her body than the other harpist. That is why the harp extends before her and we see her head through the strings. Remarkably, she was represented with her mouth opened: she sings the text written before her, while accompanying herself: "Even as thou shinest forth, so shine forth the faces of Amen-re (says) the singer Baket" ().
Behind her, a man plays the lute () and a woman the double-oboe (). In an archaic trait, the hip of the oboist is placed very high, by the high stroke showing the thigh. The silhouettes are very slender.


In the second register

In the second register, a second musician plays a curved harp but only the top of the instrument is preserved. His song is again, as in the long room, related to the religious festivals of Thebes: "How happy is the temple of Amun, even she that spendeth her days in festivity' with the king of the gods within her …" There was probably another group of singers behind him, who have disappeared ().

The guests

Unlike the first banquet, the guests are not seated as couples but divided according to sex between the two registers: the men in the upper register, the women below. The men – brothers or co-workers of Amenemhat - are seated on a stool and each have a table in front of them. Three servants assure themselves of their well-being: the cupbearer Tcheny exclaims "To thy ka in the house of thy brother! Ye shall not cease from boon-companionship eternally" (); Further away a young waitress wishes "To thy ka! Celebrate a happy day in the house of thy prince!". (). The third servant places a cone of ointment on the head of a man identical to that on the other guests’ heads. The women are kneeling on mats. Some outlines have been scratched away, but their gestures can still be guessed: each one reaches out to the table before her. Some servants bring them a necklace and ointments: "Receive a garland for thy breast in the house of thy brother …"

Third register: ointments and oils

In the third register, men and women bring ointments and oils in various vases: "[Bringing] … [best-quality oil] of cedar, best-quality oil of Libya, incense, ti-šps, olive-oil, unguent and press-oil which comes from the two chambers … (for thy use) in this thy thousand years which thy master Amun has decreed for thee in thy house of the living, there being for thee life and there being for thee health and there being for thee justification ; and thou hast enjoyment of music and song … eternally.".
They are not servants but relatives of Amenemhat, by family ties or work.

In the erotic imagination of the Egyptians, all the senses are essential. Those of touch and smell are at the celebration of this banquet. The odour of the ointment cones arouses the sense of smell and thus participates in the rebirth of Amenemhat, just as the contact with ointments and oils excites the touch.

This banquet is therefore associated with a funerary cult scene. It brings together relatives of Amenemhat: his family and people that he meets in doing his duties. Perhaps this is the representation of the banquet which probably took place at the end of the burial, near the chapel, and in which the deceased can participate thanks to the magic of the funeral rites.


The sequence of the scenes in this piece is primarily chronological. Its general theme is clear: it is the passage of Amenemhat between the world of the living and that of the dead, aided by a whole series of ritual ceremonies. The actions represented in the transverse room are timeless. Those of the passage are quite fixed in time, and it is a short time, presumably a day. They are not intended to be repeated. Amenemhat represented them to ensure their existence, by the power of figuration, in case the actual ceremonies do not take place.

The sanctuary

On the western inner side of the doorway leading to the third room, Amenemhat says: "Giving praise to Anubis, smelling the earth to the great god, adoration to the god lord of Igeret … the steward of the Vizier, [Amenen~het, justified]. Anubis who is in the embalmingplace, upon his mountain, Lord of the West, Lord of the dawning earth, dwelling in the divine booth, chief of the Western Desert, many of names in Rostau…" The scene is almost entirely destroyed, only the text remains, the hands of Amenemhat, the head of the god and his sceptre. Amenemhat faces towards the back of the chapel: as deceased, he is welcomed at the gates of the kingdom of the dead.

The sanctuary comprises six walls, without counting the representation above the front door. It is next to this that one that begins the description of this room

The south wall, the upper scenes

A long scene occupies the upper part of the south wall. It passes above the front door and consists of several small scenes. The deceased couple, seated in a traditional manner, are at each end. Except for the titles and names of the deceased, there is no information about the characters and their actions, there are no titles at the scenes.

Right side

On the right, in front of Amenemhat and Baket, an immense quantity of round or long loaves are piled on a rectangular table, which is different from the traditional offering table ().
At the side, the mummy of Amenemhat, with its white shroud and its blue wig, is lying on its funerary bed surmounted by a red and yellow canopy supported by papyriform columns to which a pair of ducks are attached on both sides. The yellow colour of the canopy is that of gold, which is the flesh of the gods.


On the other side of the canopy, the scene is divided into two sub-registers.

Below a priest performs two essential rites of funerary worship: a libation and a censing. Behind him, nine women raise their hands in lamentation.

Above are four mourners. The first two, standing up, cast their hair before their eyes in a sign of despair, the next two, seated, cover their eyes. The theme of mourners accompanying their funeral processions with their cries and despairing gestures is well attested in the Theban iconography of the 18th dynasty. This small scene would therefore summarize the funeral and the funerary cult, presenting only certain aspects of them.

The banquet

The other half of this picture represents a banquet such as we have seen before, but again with only a few elements: the offering table, the priest leading a funerary service. A, now missing, female figure appears before three musicians clapping their hands. She was probably also a musician, maybe a harpist. In the upper register a servant serves a cup of scented wine to the first of the four guests.

The autobiographical texts, games and drinks

On each side of the entrance door to the sanctuary are two arched false-stelae covered with autobiographical texts which are now very fragmentary.

The location of these texts is strange, in this location it is hardly attested elsewhere in the necropolis. Most of the time, the stelae, false or true, appear either outside the tomb under the portico or on the lateral walls of the transverse room. The texts are thus more accessible to the lettered who visit the necropolis. Indeed, they are above all intended to guarantee the deceased eternal recognition from men, the king and the gods for his merits.

A date yet appears at the start of the western text, year 28 of Tuthmosis III. It is usually used to date the tomb. In reality, by that time, the decoration of the tomb was certainly completed or almost so. In fact, these two false stelae are painted upon already completed scenes, which they cover. These scenes are yet again visible, due to the flaking of the second coat of paint.

The western text

In the western text, Amenemhat details his activity in the service of User, the duties that were his: "Year 28 of the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Men-Kheper-Re, Life, stability and strength as Re forever.
(1) An offering which the King gives to Amon-Re, lord of the thrones of the two lands, who presides over Karnak and the great Ennead who is in his temple at Osiris in all its places, and the great Ennead which is in the necropolis, that they may make an funerary offering of bread and beer, oxen and fowl,

(2) and all good and pure things, linen and clothing, incense and ointment, which is given by heaven, created by the earth, and brought by the Nile from its cave, and are upon the altar of Amon-Re, for the ka of the scribe of the vizier's scribe, Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, born of Antef, proclaimed righteous.
(3) The scribe Amenemhat said: I am a servant who follows his master, who is efficient, who does what the master says. He has placed all his domain under my command, and all his seals were under my control; I was vigilant in reporting his possessions, and showed no negligence in supervising his work.
(4) The governor of the city and vizier User did what the king's living ka demanded day after day. He caused Maat to go up to his lord, which his majesty loves in every season. He was summoned at all times because of all his excellent qualities.
(5) The governor of the city and vizier User did what all the gods love, fulfilling the ordinances and upholding the laws, raising up their temples, increasing their offerings, distributing their offerings, and performing for them the Maat which they love.
(6) The governor of the city and vizier User did what upper and lower classes of people loved, attending to the poor as well as the rich, protecting the widow without any family, soothing the spirits of the venerable and the aged. He named the children to be in the place of their fathers, and made everyone joyous.
[7] The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, says]: The governor of the city and vizier User made many amulets for the palace, in gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise and all kinds of precious stones, vessels of silver [and gold], copper and bronze, furniture of ivory and ebony, acacia and cedar of Lebanon, and he praised God for them. I was the one responsible for the [work on these].
(8) The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, says]: The vizier User made several statues for the palace, in silver and gold, of copper and bronze, ebony and in cedar of Lebanon, and in every kind of fine hard granite. There was given to those who fashioned them [... ointment] the flesh of the god, slaves, and fields [In (?)] every nome. It was I who was responsible for the [work concerning this].
(9) The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, says]: this noble [made for himself] many statues of copper and bronze, and in all precious woods, and [every type of fine hard granite (?)] And he has made sure that [they] found places in the temples of the gods of Upper [and Lower Egypt ... conifer essence] of Lebanon In front of [...]. I was the one responsible for the [work on this]. (10) The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, says]: this noble [made for himself a very great and beautiful lake] to the west of the city of the south, with all kinds of beautiful trees, and made it prosper with all kinds of attractive trees, its walls decorated with [...]. I was the one responsible for the [work on this].
(11) The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, says]: this noble] made for himself a great and beautiful tomb on the shale hill of the Sacred land, with high and painted walls, a noble sarcophagus in [...]. I was the one responsible for the [work on this].
(12) The scribe who reckons the grain, head of the weavers of Amon, [Amenemhat, proclaimed righteous, said: “This noble made for himself a] noble … [its] walls of brick… . of stone inscribed … I was the one responsible for the [work on this]."

The eastern text

The text of the eastern side, even more damaged, mentions the finances, the temple, the proper merits of Amenemhat, religious festivals, and ends with recalling the burial of Amenemhat ().

Under the western false stele

Under the western false stele, on the upper register, two people play on a senet chessboard. This is a rare scene in Thebes, particularly in the 18th dynasty. Both players are kept cool by a servant waving a fan. Amenemhat plays in order to win his rebirth.
The lower registers have a display of pots and cups of different shapes. A servant cools a few full jars by fanning them while two others pour wine into vases for storage ().

Under the eastern false stele

On the eastern side, the false stele contains a display of funerary equipment: necklaces, vases, an oil pot, boxes, white rings, a large gold necklace in a basket, and so on. A young female servant is seen busy, but beyond her hands the scene is totally destroyed (). The funeral equipment may be inspected by the deceased; such is a theme present in other tombs.

The east and west walls, two scenes of funerary offerings

The funerary theme occupies the two main scenes of this area, parallel to the two lateral walls of the sanctuary: it is the funeral offering, the worship made theoretically every day to the deceased.

In the lower register

In the lower register, special festivals are recalled.
The two representations of this daily worship are symmetrical in their general structure, but not always in their content. Amenemhat and his wife are seated together at the north end of both scenes. One of their sons advances from the southern end of the wall, in the costume of a priest, and recites a prayer while raising his arm. These son priests and the deceased are the most damaged figures of these two scenes, they have almost disappeared. Between them a large list of offerings occupies the whole upper part of the register. More than a simple list it is rather a selection of the ceremonies accomplished during the daily worship. Below, several priests advance towards the deceased and perform several rites.

In the second register from the top

In the second register, from the top, the closest relatives of Amenemhat are seated: his parents on a chair, his children on a mat. To the west, are four sons () and three girls (), some smelling a large lotus flower before their faces. What is preserved on the [other] wall suggests the same composition ().

In the fourth register

In the fourth register, a procession of servants bringing offerings closes off each wall. Fruits and vegetables, poultry, cattle and other animals carried or dragged by these people are destined for the offering table of Amenemhat ( and details )

West wall, third register

In the third register, the theme remains identical on the two walls, but the figures change: these are two scenes of religious ceremonies, perhaps festivals, a "feast of Hathor" on the west () and anniversaries of gods on the east, in which Amenemhat could participate both during his lifetime and eternally.
On the western wall, three "musicians" of different deities - Amun and the Great Ennead of Karnak, and Hathor of Denderah - stand before the deceased couple.

They present or simply hold in their hands menat collars, sistrum and flagellum. The instruments being brandished are played and offered. Those which are simply held in the hand have above all a symbolic value.
The menat necklace consists of a dense arrangement of rows of small pearls and a counterweight. Their form is that of those worn by priestesses from the beginning of the 18th dynasty.
Originally it was an adornment, but since the Old Kingdom it was also associated with music and dance, and from the Middle Kingdom, with the cult of Hathor. The arched type of sistrum first appears in the 18th dynasty, this is therefore one of the first attestations. It has a cylinder shaped handle surmounted by a double head of Hathor. In the Theban tombs, it is usually offered to the deceased.

After a destroyed section which had sufficient space for two, now missing, persons, the scene continues with a group of five people. A woman practices a dance step while snapping her fingers. Facing her, a man claps his hands while dancing. Between the two, a man dressed only in a short loincloth skips to the rhythm that his two companions give him.
At the end of the register two men walk at the same pace, each holding two wands, terminated by human figures in each hand. They wear a menat collar like adornment and a fillet in their hair.

The instruments held by the priests and the priestesses, the dance, the decorated wands, all these elements contribute to a joyous celebration of Hathor which is very appropriately represented here, as in the reception of Sinuhe by the royal children. The reception is for the reborn deceased - for one who has made a long journey before returning home. Music and dance bring joy and calm to him.

East wall, third register


On the east wall, on the third register, the figures of the priests leave less room for fantasy. They are all represented in the same action, presenting before them a pot of ointment and two candles. This would be a rite of enlightenment for particular occasions, mostly divine anniversaries.

The north wall, offerings to the divinities of the east and the west

To the right and left of the niche

To the right and left of the niche in the north wall, in the upper register, are rare scenes, but their location is particularly well chosen. Kneeling and turning his back towards the niche, Amenemhat presents two bowls of wine to two goddesses: on the east wall, the goddess of the East sits on a throne, holding in her hand her divine attributes. On the west wall, appears the goddess of the West. In exchange for the offering presented by Amenemhat, each offers in turn something to the deceased, according to the principle of the Do ut Des (I give that you may give). The goddess of the eastern desert gives to him the breath, necessary for life. The Western goddess takes him in her arms, and welcomes him into the necropolis.
The lower register of scenes has disappeared.

Above the opening of the niche

Above the opening of the niche is an ornamental plaster superstructure with orange motifs on a red background. This impost is a common motif in the tombs of Thebes and Amarna (e.g. , , , TT 48 of Amenemhat-Surer), although its ornamentation varies greatly according to the location.
It is a two-level structure, each crowned with a row of falcon heads. The two central panels contain the emblem of flowers tied to papyrus familiar since the false-doors of the Old Kingdom. And the remainder of djed columns or repeated stability symbols over and over again. Two Udjat eyes painted on the corners on the arch are now very obliterated.

The niche

Rock cut statues of great size once occupied the niche of this room, but they are now destroyed. The adjacent walls have also suffered greatly; there are fragments of inscriptions showing that traditional scenes of offering were depicted here.


The scenes of funerary offering largely dominate the iconography of this room, since its very function is to welcome worship, it is the hall closest to the kingdom of the dead. The statues served as a support to the ka of the deceased who came at the call of the priest to receive their offerings.