Traditional Mechanisms and New Applications: Identity Construction and Definition of Space through Image in Post-Amarna and 19th Dynasty Elite Tombs at Thebes Open Access

Fitzgerald, Clare Patricia (2013)

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This study seeks to understand the ancient visitors' experience of the elite tomb chapel from the post-Amarna period through the 19th Dynasty (ca. 1333-1188 B.C.E.) in Thebes. The tomb chapel was a multipurpose space, and the decoration and text found in the different areas of the tomb were selected and arranged with an awareness of the function of these spaces. Representing a great investment of capital on the part of the tomb owner, the tomb chapel was an open space created for the purpose of receiving visitors. In the past, discussions of tombs from this period have focused on the ritual function of the images and texts, seeing them primarily as tools to conduct the deceased to the afterlife and oriented toward the beyond. Such work is important and emphasizes a primary purpose of the tomb space, but the decoration of the tomb chapel was also oriented toward the living world and served as a major tool of self-presentation on the part of the tomb owner and his family. This second function is not entirely distinct from the first, because the representation of the deceased as an individual worthy of an afterlife due to his adherence to cultural values while alive was a prerequisite for entrance into the afterlife. In this study, I consider scene selection, placement, and composition in order to understand the self presentation of the tomb owner. In constructing his identity, the tomb owner frequently used the juxtaposition of scenes to make nuanced statements about his identity, the importance of participation in the offering cult, and his expectations of visitors to the tomb chapel. Recognizing these mechanisms, this study favors a holistic treatment of tomb decoration. In addition, the selection and placement of scenes within the tomb helped define different areas of the space for visitors and directed their movement and activity in the tomb chapel. These two mechanisms worked in tandem to mediate the visitors experience of the tomb and helped them to form ideas about the tomb owner.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction...1

Problems and Considerations...1
Decorum: Omissions and Fictions...2
Maat and the Egyptian Worldview...3
Maat in Texts...6
Efficacy of Images...12
Egyptian Understanding of Death: The Narrative...15
The Characterization of Death in Egyptian Culture...18
Functions of a Tomb...21
Construction of Tombs at Thebes...29
Tomb Owners...34
Who were the contemporary visitors to the tomb?...36
Tomb Development in Western Thebes...39
Focal Walls...48
Written and Visual Literacy in Ancient Egypt...50
Modern History of the Tombs and Their Study...64
A Reductive View...66
Population and Survival...70
Historical Context...75
Selection of Tombs for Study...75
Organization of the study...77

Part II: Holistic Readings...79

TT 13...80
TT 14...87
TT 16...94
TT 19...102
TT 25...112
TT 26...116
TT 31...121
TT 40...140
TT 49...162
TT 51...180
TT 111...194
TT 133...199
TT 138...205
TT 159...216
TT 178...221
TT 189...234
TT 233...239
TT 254...243
TT 263...250
TT 296...255
TT 324...268
TT 344...274
TT 387...278
TT 409...282

Part III: Interpretation and Conclusion...296

Osiris in Kiosk and Adoration of Other Deities on Focal Walls...298
Tomb owner receiving offerings...304
Professional Scenes...305
Tree Goddess Scene and Chapter 59...309
Funeral Procession and Spell 145/146...312
Stacked and mirrored scenes on focal walls...315
Meaning for self-presentation in 19th Dynasty tomb chapels...321
Areas for Further Work...323


Tombs Removed from Dissertation...331
Tombs Arranged by Date...335
Tombs Arranged by Area...337
Book of the Dead Spells found in Theban Tombs in the Dissertation...339
Transverse Hall, Focal Wall Chart...382
Transverse Hall, "East" Wall Chart...390
Transverse Hall, Short Wall Chart...399

Figure List...407

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