last update: 26.03.2008

Historical Data

Name Title   Origin Tomb
Hereditary Prince, Count, Wearer of the Royal Seal, Sole Companion (of the King), Chief of the Oases, Nomarch, Great Herald of the King, Director of the Granary   ? TT155

Dra Abu el-Naga

Wife: name not known        
Father: unknown        
Mother: unknown        
Ahmose royal scribe, overseer of horns, hoofs, feathers, and scales, reckoner of bread of Upper and Lower Egypt      
none known        
Sons: Teti (Scribe), Amenw...      

The tomb TT155 of the Great Herald of the Queen, Antef, is located in the northern part of Dra Abu el-Naga. The tomb which is today a complete ruin must have been an imposing monument in antiquity. As in many other tombs of this epoch the first room has a row of pillars instead of a solid front wall (see floor plan below). Behind the first room there is a long passage and then another chamber. In the rear wall of this chamber there is a large niche for the statues.

The tomb was hewn directly into the rock, the walls were covered with a lime plaster. There was no stonework whatever, unless on the jambs to the niche.

Today, only the lower parts of the pillars are preserved and the rear wall of the first room which was exposed for many years is worn or fallen away except at the bottom.

Floor plan of tomb TT155, from Säve-Söderberg (1957)

Not very much had been preserved of the decoration of the pillars, a description of the less imposing remains is given by Säve-Söderberg (1957).
On the side walls of the first room two stela were made in plaster, of the southern one nothing has been preserved, of the northern (above the position XIXF) only the lower part of a false-door stela with "sem"-priests at each side has survived. The false-door has a step in front and five recessed jambs on each side on which parts of the name of Antef have survived. The fact that these figures and the name of Amun on one of the pillars have survived the Amarna-period suggest that the tomb was inaccessible or already badly damaged before that time.
Further fragments show conventional offering formula and one the title of Antef (wHm tpj n nswt = First or Great Herald of the King).

The scenes that decorate the left side of the rear wall of the hall (Position XI - XIII) show aspects of his official life which are also mentioned in his autobiography on the Louvre stela. The Great Herald had to report to the king, introduce people to the king, to make known royal commands, and to act as a Quartermaster-General during the campaigns. Furthermore, the Great Herald was also the one who "reckons the levies (of officials, mayors, and the heads of the districts) - i.e. he was the "first tax collector".

Antef's occupation with the taxation in Egypt is shown among others of the following drawings by Säve-Söderberg (1957) showing the left rear wall of the hall. One of the scenes show him together with his brother, Ahmose (standing in front of him), and another one again with Ahmose and his beloved son, the royal scribe, Teti. Further scenes show Antef observing foreigners bringing tribute, among them people from "Kheftiu" (= Crete).

The right part of the rear wall of the hall (position XIV, XV) shows Antef enjoying "sports" in the marshlands. He is shown spearing fishes, hunting the water-fowl with a boomerang (upper part of the following drawings) and harpooning a hippopotamus (lower part). The decorations were apparently rather damaged already at the times of Säve-Söderberg, thus, he himself must rely in his description of the tomb (1957) on illustrations from earlier visitors. 

The drawings shows Antef, standing on the right side of the boat, hunting the water-fowl with a boomerang, left in front of him, at the bow most likely his wife is depicted holding a lotus flower. Behind him are two attendants, one of them bringing another boomerang is "his beloved son, Amenw....".
Below the bow a crocodile is shown just swallowing a fish - this is a very rarely depicted in such scenes (e.g. see Tomb of Menna).

Also the scene showing Antef harpooning a hippopotamus is very rare in Theban tombs. Säve-Söderberg has published a detailed analysis about the hippopotamus hunting which was found in 10 private Theban tombs only (1957). In his opinion these representations are derived from Old Kingdom prototypes where the king had been the main actor. Harpooning the hippopotamus represents the victory of the king and the god (which is the same in this case) over all evil power symbolized by the hippopotamus. All Theban tombs in which this scene occurs date from the reigns of Hatshepsut, Thutmosis III, and one possibly from the beginning of the reign of Amenhotep II. 

The passage to the inner room shows the deceased adoring the Horus-name, remains of the funeral procession with purification of the mummy, remains of hunting scenes, and the bringing of cattle (?), birds, and other products of the marshlands. 

Among the decorations of the passage two representations are of special interest. The decorations (see following drawing; position XVIIIA und B) show Antef facing outwards and standing in front of a kind of "pavilion". The lower part of this "pavilion" is decorated with the "Union of the Two Lands" whereby on the northern thickness (XVIIIA) two Asiatics and on the southern two Nubians are fettered to the sign (see below).

There was a text in front of Antef partly preserved that reads: "Horus on her great throne in the Palace of Gold". Obviously, the "pavilion" has represented the "Palace of Gold" but of more interest is that the ruler must have been Hatshepsut due to the female suffix. This would imply that the work on the tomb of Antef was started in the reign of Hatshepsut and probably finished under Thutmosis III.

Practically nothing remains of the decoration of the inner room and the chapel, a few fragments left in situ do not allow a relevant description. Therefore, only a few hints to the fragments are given by Säve-Söderberg or by Porter&Moss.

Stela of Antef from TT155, today in the Louvre, Object C26; Height: 125 cm, Width: 120 cm; it is not known where the stela was mounted in the tomb.

The top of the stela shows left the son, Teti, and right the brother, Ahmose, both kneeling in front of the double presented deceased. A long "Appeal to visitors" is followed by an autobiography that confirms the titles and official positions mentioned inside the tomb.

Funerary cone of Antef; Quelle; Petrie Museum, London, UC37602


Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)