TT71 Decoration of the Transverse Hall

Senenmut

last update: 26.01.2011
 

TT71 - Remains of the decoration of the transverse hall

 

From the original colored decoration of walls and ceilings of the transverse hall today only very small parts have survived.
Some parts of the remaining decoration of the Transverse hall are still visible. However, a brick shelter has been erected inside the northern wing of the hall (the right side in the following sketch). Thus, this part of the wing is not accessible.
The brick  shelter has been erected to protect important parts of the remaining decoration, i. e. the Aegean tribute bearers which are depicted at the west (rear) wall and a scene on the north wall showing marching soldiers (see photos below).


Floor plan of the Transverse Hall (from: Dorman, 1991), the brick shelter built in the right wing is not taken into consideration.


Front of TT71, inside the right wing of the heavily destroyed Transverse Hall a brick shelter has been erected for protection of remaining wall paintings.

The representation of the Aegean (Cretan) tribute bearers in the northwest corner of the right wing of the transverse hall is the earliest proof for contacts of ancient Egypt with the Minoan civilization (see Helck, 1979). Since early 19th century the wall suffered considerably - obviously, as suggested by the following photo of Dorman, somebody has tries the cut of the right vessel from the wall -, so that from originally 6 figures only the last three are still preserved.
According to Helck (loc. cit.) the figures are clearly identified as Minoan (Crete) people by their kilt which - pulled through between the legs - falls down at the front in a close pleat. All men were depicted with dark red skin and black hair, however, the colors have largely fallen away from the wall (Dorman, 1991). The eyes are painted white with red pupils, the fingernails had been painted white as well.
Similar representations can be found in the tomb of the vizier User (TT131) who is testified to have hold this office from year 28 of Hatshepsut until year 28 of Thutmosis III. Furthermore, the tomb of Rekhmire (TT100), his nephew and successor as vizier, shows similar representations of Minoan people.

From the first (left) figure only the chest is preserved. He carries a vessels with each hand, with the right hand he holds a large white cup decorated with a central band of interlocking spirals and three thin parallel stripes at the rim and the base. With his left hand he carries a smaller red amphora.
The figure of the second tribute carrier is preserved  from the hip upwards. Of the clothes only the belt can ´be seen, decorated with red-white-red triangles alternating with blue-white-blue triangles. Each row separated by a white band with pink dots. In his left hand he carries a large white cup decorated with two Bucrania (bull heads). Rim and basis are decorated with yellow strips. The Bucrania have blue horns and aside from red foreheads and red noses they show faces from which the colors have largely disappeared. The eyes are white with red pupils, the mouths are white, the chins have a yellow patch, the ears are red with a yellow center.
The 3rd (right) figure wears a kilt decorated with an elaborate belt and sheath. The Belt shows on a white background a series of interlocking red S shapes which terminate in blue dots. Between the S shapes there small red triangles are painted. The central pattern is framed on both sides by tripartite bands in blue-white-blue.
The man holds a large red-brown pitcher in his right hand and a tall handled jar in his left. The jar is painted with a white rim and shoulder which is decorated with a rope pattern in red. The body of the jar is painted in yellow.

Aegean (Cretan) tribute bearers (photo: Dorman, 1991)
Aegean (Cretan) tribute bearers (drawing by N. de G. Davies taken from: BMMA 21-3, part 2, 1924-1925 (New York 1926), pp. 41-51)
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On the northern front wall of the northwest aisle marching soldiers have been depicted (moving to the right) from which only two figures are partly preserved (Dorman, 1991). As is the case of the Aegean tribute bearers the red square-grid which was used for the outline of the figures is to visible under the figures, however, here the squares are with a side-length of about 2.6 cm per square somewhat larger in comparison with square-grid used for the tribute bearers (2.3 cm).
The skin of the soldiers is dark-red, their wigs are blue, fingernails and toenails are white. Only the back of the head, the right shoulder and the right arm as well as the right calf of the first solder have survived. This solders carries a brown bow and some arrows in his right hand. The shafts of the arrows are painted in brown, their notches and feathers in light brown.
The second (left) soldier wears a short loincloth. The loincloth is gathered together at the front and falls vertically in folds which are outlined in red. The loincloth covers the right thigh which is indicated by lighter color of the skin. This soldier carries two weapons, an axe in his left hand and a throwstick in his right. The shafts of both weapons are painted in red, the ax blade is white.
Below the architrave which separates the northwest from the northeast aisle the north wall has been decorated with 11 lines of text which are partly preserved. The hieroglyphs of this inscription are facing in the same direction as the marching soldiers. As Dorman reports that the first three lines and the half of the fourth line are today obscured by the modern brick shelter so that one has to contact earlier copies of the text (Dorman, 1991, recommends Sethe, Urk. IV, 399).
According to Sethe who identified the remaining words as a part of a biographical inscription the preserved part contains in different lines the following words (after Dorman, loc. cit, and Sethe, loc. cit.):
southern land (&A-nhsj = Nubia),
[..I have] made captures (jw xfa, Hannig, Deutsch-Ägyptisch; p. 949 = meaning "taken spoils of war"),
bracelet (mnfrt, Hannig, Deutsch-Ägyptisch; p. 68),
[on the x-th] occasion of capt[uring] (spw n xfa, Hannig, Ägyptisch-Deutsch, p. 691).
This very fragmentary text is frequently regarded as proof for the statement that Senenmut began his career in the military. However, Dorman (1991) points out that the evidence for a military career of Senenmut is quite weak because in the preserved text any pronouns of the 1st person are missing (especially if one takes into account that first-person pronouns were frequently used in other inscriptions of the tomb). Beyond that military titles are missing in the otherwise impressive list of the titles hold by Senenmut.

Marching soldiers (left upper corner) (photo: Dorman, 1991).

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Remains of a Hathor-Frieze from the west wall of the southwest aisle.
 

Remains of  decoration of the ceiling from the southwest aisle
 
 


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Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)