Giovanni Belzoni, who discovered the tomb in 1817, was a circus man who originally came to Egypt to market an irrigation pump he had designed in England. The project fell through but he arranged the transportation of the colossal head of Ramses II from the Ramasseum to the British Museum in London.
|This is a classical tomb that far surpasses all others |
in the Valley of the Kings both in size and
in the artistic execution of the sculptured walls.
Every inch of wall space of its entire 100 meter length
is covered with representations which were carried
out by the finest craftsmen.
The second corridor (2), which is staircased, has thirty-seven forms of the Sun God depicted on the upper part of the recesses on both sides. As we descend to the third corridor , Maat, goddess of truth, faces us with outstretched wings above the doorway (r). Isis is represented on the left-hand side (d), and Nephthys (Nebethet) on the right (e), and they both kneel on the hieroglyph for 'gold' and place their hands upon a seal ring. Above them, on each side of the corridor, the jackal-god Anubis can be seen. The wall reliefs here have not been completed but we can see the outlines in black, the master's touch in red, and the accuracy with which the relief is carved from the bottom up wards.
Proceeding beneath Maat with her outstretched wings we pass into the third corridor (3), which has dramatic representations of the fifth hour of night from the fifth chapter of the Book of the Dead. Towards the middle of the left-hand wall (f) the sun-boat (damaged) is driven through the netherworld by seven gods and seven goddesses and in front of it march four gods and the goddess Isis. On the right-hand wall (g) the Sun God and his retinue are drawn through a land inhabited by demons and monsters (top and bottom rows) and we see a serpent with three heads, wings and human legs. But the Sun God is safe, drawn by Horus and Thoth (middle row) who carry an eye as a protection against evil. The ceiling is blackened from the candles of the early Christians who hid in the tomb, as it is believed.
From the third corridor onwards the quality of the color on the reliefs is superb. We now come to a small ante-chamber (4). The walls, both to left and right, show the Pharaoh between Harmachis and Isis offering wine to Hathor. We now enter a square chamber with four pillars (s) . On the pillars themselves the Pharaoh is shown before the various deities: Isis and Nephthys (Nebethet) the sister-wife and the sister of Osiris, Harbor the goddess of joy and love who was also the goddess of Dendera to whom the cow was sacred, Selket the goddess to whom the scorpion was sacred, Horus the universal Sun God, and Harsiesis and Harmaches who were special forms of Horus; also of course Anubis, the jackal-god of embalming. The walls, especially those at the sides, have marvelous representations of the sun travelling through the fourth region of the underworld. On the rear wall (h) Osiris is enthroned before Hathor while the Pharaoh is led into his presence by the hawk-headed Horus. This is a superb mural with intricate detail and rich color. Near the corner of the left-handwall (i) the four chief races of men known at the time stand before Horus: these are Egyptians, Asiatics with pointed beards and colored aprons, four backs and four Libyans with feathers on their heads and tattooed bodies.The chamber (6), situated to the right and entered via an arrow flight of steps, was never completed. Whether this was because it was discovered that the walls were of inferior material, or as a blind to mislead grave-robbers, is not known, but the sketches on the walls are bold and compelling and show the touch of a master craftsman. The original sketch was done in red. The corrections in black were probably the work of the senior artist , after which the carvers took over. The left-hand wall (j) shows the journey during the ninth hour of the underworld: the sacred cow, ram, bird and human head guarding the procession against the fiery serpents. On the rear-wall (k) is the tenth hour with the hawk joining the protective deities and the spirits carrying arrows and lances. On the right-hand wall (I) is the eleventh hour with the condemned in the
lower row. The enemies of the Sun God are being burned under the supervision of the hawk-headed Horus in strange furnaces, whilst fire-breathing goddesses stand watch with swords.
|(The picture above is for the ceiling of the tomb |
of Seti I at the Valley of the Kings)
We descend a few more steps into a small corridor (8) which is decorated with texts of the ceremonies performed before the statue of the deceased Pharaoh in order that he may eat and drink in the hereafter. On the right-hand wall (n) is a list of offerings.
The picture above is of an unfinished
relief work at the tomb of Seti I
The picture above is for a scene
from burial chamber of Seti I's tomb
the tomb was discovered. It was made out of a single piece of alabaster, carved to a thickness of two inches and with the exquisite reliefs filled in with blue paste. This magnificent piece is comparable only to the alabaster vase found in Tutankhamun's tomb which is today in the Cairo Museum. The mummy, which was one of those found at Deir el Bahri (Hatshepsut's Temple), is in the same museum. The sarcophagus lies in the Soane Museumin in London. When Belzoni, who was commissioned to transport it, took it to the British Museum, the trustees considered the price set too high and the treasure was without a buyer until 1824 when Sir John Soane paid £2,000 for it. The decorations on the walls of the pillared portion of the hall show the journey through the first region of the underworld on the left entrance-wall (0) and through the fourth region of the underworld on the left-hand wall (p). In a small recess at the end of this wall (q) is a beautiful representation of Anubis performing theopening-of- the-mouth ceremony before Osiris. On the right-hand entrance wall (r) and the right-hand wall (s) are representations of the journey through the second region of the underworld. The vaulted ceiling has been painted with astrological figures. From early times, of course, the Egyptians had mapped out the heavens, identified some of the fixed stars and were able to determine the positions of others. This ceiling is unusual in that it has not been painted in the familiar balanced, repetitive form. Adjoining the tomb chamber are four side-rooms. The first one on the right (11) has the text of a myth that concerns the rebellion of mankind against the Sun God, their punishment and final rescue. On the rear wall is a magnificent relief of the heavenly cow of the myth supported by Shu, the god of the atmosphere,and bearing on its back two boats of the sun.
|The Tomb of Seti I, Book of the Dead|
The Pharaoh will overcome. With the help of the Sun God the doors of the hereafter are open to him. He will enter with his valuables and possessions; with the ability to eat and drink; and imbued with life so as to reign again. This is his ultimate hope.