Astronomical Ceiling

Original: New Kingdom

Charles K. Wilkinson

Not on view

The ancient Egyptians were dedicated astronomers, as illustrated by this schematic guide to the night sky that decorated a ceiling in the tomb of Senenmut (TT 353) at Deir el-Bahri. The figures represent constellations or protective deities, and the columns of text in the upper part list planets and stars known as the decans. The twelve circles in the lower part, each divided into twenty-four segments for the hours of the day and night, are labelled with the names of the months of the year.

Senenmut (48.149.7) was a high official in the court of Hatshepsut (29.3.2), Egypt's most successful female pharaoh.

Astronomical Ceiling, Charles K. Wilkinson, Tempera on paper

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