Tombs of the Nobles

Of the several thousand nobles' tombs identified in the Theban Necropolis, nineteen are today open to the public. They span a period of nearly hundred years, from the mid-18 dynasty onward.

If time does not permit such a tour, then one should at least visit TT100: Rekhmire and TT 55:Ramose, the first with superb painting of daily life, the second with relief carving of outstanding quality. It is  the detail in these tomb's decoration that reward the visitors, and it is much better to explore a few tombs slowly than to hurry through several. The walk from parking areas to the tombs of the Nobles can be equally enjoyable, and one should note the mud-brick houses decorated with Hajj paintings that line the footpaths, and the views of the Nile Valley to the east.

Tombs of the Nobles |The Tomb of Ramose TT55

This tomb belongs to the vizier in the reigns of Amenhotepl III and IV. It comprises a main hall with thirty-two rather squat papyrus columns, an inner hall containing eight cluster columns of smaller dimension (all destroyed) and the shrine. 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 the Aten under Akhenaten.

The tomb gives us a unique opportunity to see conventional 18th Dynasty representations alongside the realism that associated with the Amarna period. The reliefs to left and right of the entrance gateway are in the conventional style,typical of the beginning  of Amenhotep IV’s reign. To the left, Ramose sits with his relatives, all of whom wear wigs. The figures are unpainted a part from the eyes. To the right are scenes of worship, offerings and religious ceremonies. Another traditional representation is on the left-hand rear  wall, which shows Amenhotep IV in stylized, customary treatment, he had not yet changed his name to Akhenaten or moved the capital. he sits beneath a canopy with Maat, goddess of Truth. Ramose himself is twice represented before the throne.

On the right hand rear wall we see the young pharaoh, who stands with his royal consort Nefertiti  on a balcony, depicted on the Amarna style and attitude. Ramose is being decorated with gold chains. Akhenaten is portrayed with his belly extended, in the 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 arms. Another offers the symbol of life to the nostrils of the queen.

On the left hand wall is an expressive relief of a group of mourners. Grief comes down the centuries in the heart tending 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, gather dust to scatter on their heads as a sign of bereavement.