Tomb of Menna, Nobles Tombs TT69,
Sheikh el-Gourna, Luxor

tomb of menna, luxor
Tomb of Menna
Menna's official title was "Scribe of the Fields of the Lord of the Two Lands", most likely under Pharaoh ThothMoses IV. With a position as scribe of the fields, many agricultural scenes are found in his tomb.

The tomb is a socalled T-tomb, with two halls on both sides before entering a longer room. In the left-hand hall (A) Menna and his wife is offering to Osiris along with description of a great estate. On the right-hand site, in the end there is a stelae of two women and two men praying. One of the walls here shows a funerary feast. On the left side (B) of the inner corridor it's funerary scenes including the deceased's voyage to Abydos and the famous weighing of the heart. On the right side (C) show fishing and fowling scenes.

People lived for three and a half thosand years ago, meet us in this tomb. Here the beautiful woman with flowers. consists of two village families, the Qurna villages from the Nile and to the desert on the north side of the road and the Bairat villages on the south. Behind the green agriculture land the Western desert starts and on top of the first mountain of the desert you can see a natural pyramid form. This is where the scorpion and snake goddess Meretseger lives and in front of the desert mountain all the temples and behind in one of the first valleys the legendary Valley of the Kings.

The man with gazelle show the artistic level of the artists who worked in the tomb of Menna. Just have a look at the lines made by the artist brush on the stone wall of the tomb.

This young woman with flowers and birds is one of the most famous wallpaintings from ancient Egypt. As in most paintings, the classic way of showing a person is used: the head in profile, but the eye is seen from the front as the shoulders. Breast, hips and legs are seen from the side. This kind of presentation is what normally is named "value perspective", in difference to "central perspective" which mostly are used today. The value perspektive is making differences in size, not as the eye see it, but after what should be highlighted as more or less important in an image.

Harvesting Grain in the fields, with the overseer standing by watching the work. It might be Menna himself who was "Scribe of the Fields of the Lord of the Two Lands", or one of his subordinates standing here as an overseer on the left side.

Another detail from the work at the fields, with cattle. On left and right we see a person working with the harvest of the grain, and in the middle cattle are taken out to the pasture, or home again. Note the way the cattle are shown, each behind the other, but in a way so you can count how many cattle that's shown.

From the life in the marshes. Note the various birds in the top, and the two nest's with eggs. The cat is nearly on the top, and below the cat one can see a mouse also on her hunt in the marshes. Please note the minimalism in the way the plants are paintet. The visual description are so exact that ornithologists has been able to decide exactly which birds lived in Egypt in pharaonic times.

Journey to Abydos was important for those who could afford this, and the mummie of Menna we know from his tomb, went on such a journey. In Abydos was the important cult for the god Osiris, the former ruler of Egypt who later became the ruler of the kingdom of the dead. Here we see a typical Nile boat for those with high standard, but look at the image a bit closer and see person who is leaning over the gunwale and take up water from the Nile. For many the art expression of ancient Egypt could look a bit stiff, but you will always find these details breaking up the standards in such scenes.

The Tilapia fish was a basic part of the food in ancient Egypt, in fact so that it became one of the hieroglyphs, today sorted as hieroglyph K1. It's important today as well, but when I lived 7 years in Luxor, we always went up to close to Aswan to buy the fish, due to the pollution. Some species of the Tilapia also grow up to 30% faster, so it's ideal for fish farming of today. As seen in this detail of the tomb of Menna, also the crocodile loved the tilapia fish (-:

On this offering table we find again the tilapia fish. Here together with eggs, ducks, grapes, whine or oil. The offering tables with food is also an important source of information for what the people here ate some three thousand years ago. But don't think that the food was lost after the offering. At the temples the food was offered to the gods, and then what was left (which was all of it), was food for the priests and students in the temples. Same in the Luxor area of today, food are brought to the tombs of the deceased, and after the family eaten the rest of the food are distributed to the poor in the area - an tradtion from ancient Egypt.

All photos by Arnvid Aakre under Creative Common license, with exception of the photo from Mennas tomb:
By Maler der Grabkammer des Menna [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Arnvid Aakre is an indie-pendent artist, writer, and lecturer. World & web citizen. He do 'one-man' projects to larger projects (as his multi artists based "Hatshepsut Project", under UNESCO HQ in Paris, patronage). Now working on the art project LAFIAS. He lived 15 years in Egypt (Luxor and Cairo), but today the Nileviking family live in Bergen, Norway.