September 6, 2013

The Tomb of Ramose

The Tomb of Ramose
This tomb belongs to the vizier in the reigns of Amenhotep III and IV (later Akhenaten). It comprises a main hall with thirty-two rather squat papyrus columns (1), an inner hall (2) containing eight clustered columns of smaller dimension (all destroyed), and the shrine (3).

The Tomb of Ramose
The tomb of Ramose is of historical importance because it is one of the few standing monuments in Luxor of the period of transition from the worship of Amon-Ra to that of the Aten under Akhenaten. The tomb gives us a unique opportunity to see conventional 18th Dynasty representations alongside the realism that is associated with the Amarna period.

The reliefs to left and right of the entrance doorway are in the conventional style, typical of the beginning of Amenhotep IV’s reign. To the left (a), Ramose sits with his relatives, all of whom wear elaborate wigs. The figures are unpainted apart from the eyes. To the right (b) are scenes of worship, offerings and religious ceremonies.

Another traditional representation is on the left-hand rear wall (c), which shows Amenhotep IV in stylised, customary treatment; he had not yet changed his name to Akhenaten or moved the capital to Tel el Amarna. He sits beneath a canopy with Maat, goddess of Truth. Ramose himself is twice represented before the throne.

The Tomb of Ramose
On the right-hand rear wall (d) we see the young pharaoh, who stands with his royal consort Nefertiti on a balcony, depicted in the Amarna style and attitude (page 118). Ramose is being decorated with gold chains. Akhenaten is portrayed with his belly extended, in unflattering realism. Above the figures is the life-giving sun, the Aten, with fourteen rays; four of them hold symbols of Life and Happiness. Two support Akhenaten’s outstretched arm. Another offers the symbol of Life to the nostrils of the queen.

On the left-hand wall (e) is an expressive relief of a group of mourners. Grief comes down the centuries in a heart-rending funerary convoy. The men carry boxes covered with foliage, a jar of water and flowers. A group of grieving women turn towards the funeral bier and fling their arms about; tears stream down their cheeks. One woman is supported by a sympathetic attendant; others beat their breasts and thighs in grief or squat to gather dust to scatter on their heads as a sign of bereavement.

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