Tomb of Nebamun
The Tomb of Nebamun is the source of some of the most famous ancient Egyptian polychrome tomb-painting scenes. This scene depicts Nebamun standing on a small boat, fishing and fowling in the marshes of the Nile with fish shown beneath the water-line. His wife stands behind him portrayed on a smaller scale, and his daughter sits beneath him holding one of his legs. Nebamun holds a throw-stick in one hand and decoy herons in the other. His cat is shown catching three birds, and many other birds are depicted flying away after being startled from the papyrus-thicket. This Tomb-Painting is one of the most significant paintings from ancient Egypt to have survived.
Nebamun was an official scribe and grain counter at the temple complex in Thebes. His Tomb was located in the Theban Necropolis situated on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes (present-day Luxor), in Egypt. The tomb’s plastered walls were richly decorated with fresco paintings, depicting Nebamun’s life and activities. The tomb was discovered in 1820 by Yanni d’Athanasi, who was acting as an agent for the British Consul-General. The workmen hacked out the fresco painted pieces with knives, saws and crowbars. D’Athanasi later died without ever revealing the tomb’s exact location.
- The Rosetta Stone
- The Battlefield Palette 3100 BC
- Quartzite Head of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III
- Colossal Granite Statue of Amenhotep III
- Hunters Palette
- Tomb of Nebamun
- Younger Memnon (Ramesses II)
Reflections on Tomb-Painting
- The paintings from the tomb of Nebamun are some of the most significant pictures from ancient Egypt to have survived. What will remain from our lives?
- This Tomb-Painting for Nebamun shows what he wished to carry on doing for eternity. What would you want to carry on doing for eternity?
- What do you think of the composition and drawing skills of the artist?
- Was it painted to a formula or is it unique to Nebamun’s life?
Tomb of Nebamun
- Artefact: Tomb of Nebamun
- Date: 1350 BC
- Culture: 18th Dynasty
- Find Spot: Tomb of Nebamun, Thebes, Egypt
- Materials: Plaster
- Acquisition: 1821
- Dimensions: H: 98 cm W: 115 cm
- Museum: The British Museum
“Know the world in yourself. Never look for yourself in the world, for this would be to project your illusion.”
– Egyptian Proverbs
Photo Credit: 1) British Museum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons