October 3, 2013

The Tomb of Mekhu and Tomb of Harkhuf

The Tomb of Mekhu
This tomb, built by Sabni for his father, comprises a single chamber, crude in both construction and decoration. There are eighteen roughly hewn columns, in three rows. A stone table or shrine with three legs is situated between the two columns facing the entrance.

The Tomb of Mekhu
Representations on the walls and columns are poor. They show the deceased receiving various offerings. To the left of the entrance is a rural scene of ploughing and tilling of the land and donkeys laden with the harvest. The stele on the rear wall, opposite the entrance, is in a recess approached by steps.

The Tomb of Mekhu

Tomb of Harkhuf
Harkhuf was an explorer, and his tomb contains lengthy descriptions of his pioneering expeditions; three were made in the reign of Merenre, and one in the reign of his successor, Pepi II.
Tomb of Harkhuf
 Harkhuf called himself ‘caravan-leader’ and journeyed with pack-donkeys beyond the Second Cataract. His first journey took seven months. His second appears to have been even more adventurous and he was proud to record that ‘never had any companion or caravan-leader . . . done it before’. Each time he brought back precious products. Harkhuf had trouble on his third expedition. Some desert tribes were warring with one another, and Harkhuf became involved. He reduced the Temehu (a tribe related to the Libyans) to subjection and so impressed the Nubian chiefs that they offered him guides and cattle for his return journey.

Tomb of Harkhuf
On his fourth expedition Harkhuf brought back gold, ostrich feathers, animal skins, ivory, ebony, incense and gum. He also brought a ‘dancing pygmy’ for his pharaoh, the young Pepi II, who came to the throne at the age of six. In his record, Harkhuf states that he sent his messengers ahead of his convoy to inform His Majesty of his gift, to which Pepi wrote back in his great enthusiasm that the pygmy should be guarded night and day so as not to fall overboard. Harkhuf was so proud of the letter that he had it engraved on the fa9ade of his tomb.

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