Reliefs from the Tomb of Nespekashuty

Late Period, Saite
Dynasty 26
reign of Psamtik I
664–610 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Nespekashuty (TT 312, MMA 509), bottom of west wall of outer hall, MMA 1922–1923
Limestone, paint
3.5 x 15.7 x 9.3 cm (1 3/8 x 6 3/16 x 3 11/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The vizier Nes-peka-shuty took over the terrace of an old Middle Kingdom tomb cut into the north cliff at Deir el-Bahri near the Dynasty 11 temple of Mentuhotep II and the Dynasty 18 temple of Hatshepsut. Work on his tomb was never finished, and many of the extant reliefs show varying degrees of completion, ranging from preliminary drawings in red paint to finely carved reliefs. Several of these intermediate stages are preserved in this relief fragment depicting an episode from Nes-peka-shuty's funeral, in which the barge bearing his coffin and the officiating mortuary priest clad in leopard skin is towed across the river to the necropolis on the west bank.

    During this late period of Egyptian art there was a tendency to draw on earlier styles and iconography. Theban tomb paintings of the New Kingdom were the models for this scene and others were patterned after scenes on the walls of Hatshepsut's temple. In Egyptian art, there is a long tradition of looking back to earlier styles, but themes are not merely copied, they are subtly changed and imbued with a new liveliness.

  • Provenance

    Excavated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Thebes. Received in the division of finds, 1923.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History