Tomb of Rekhmire Plan - Tombs of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt. Part VII

Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt.
Rekhmire was vizier under Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II. The tomb follows the regular style of the 18th Dynasty nobles' tombs, comprising a narrow, oblong first chamber and a long corridor opposite the entrance. But this corridor rapidly gains in height to the rear of the tomb and runs Into the rock. It was inhabited by a farming family for many years and the wall decorations have suffered at their hands. The tomb is a memorial to personal greatness and a revelation on law, taxation and numerous industries. Professor Breasted described It as "the most Important private monument of the Empire".
Rekhmire was an outstanding vizier who was entrusted with a great many duties. There was nothing, he wrote of himself in an inscription, of which he was ignorant in heaven, on earth or in any part of the underworld. One of the most important scenes in the tomb is that on the left-hand wall of the first chamber near the corner (a). It shows the interior of a court of law in which tax evaders are brought to justice by the grand vizier himself. The prisoners are led up the central aisle, witnesses wait outside and at the foot of the judgement seat are four mats with rolled papyri.
These are proof that written law existed in 1500 B.C. Messengers wait outside and others bow deeply as they enter the presence of the vizier.
Near the center of the opposite wall (b) Rekhmire performs his dual role of receiving taxes from officials who annually came with their dues, and receiving tributes from the vassal princes of Asia, the chiefs of Nubia,etc. The foreign gift-bearers are arranged in five rows: from the Land of Punt (dark skinned), from Crete (hearing vases of the distinctive Minoan type discovered on the island by Sir Arthur Evans) , from Nubia, from Syria, and men, women and children from the South. The diverse and exotic tributes range from panthers, apes and animal skins, to chariots, pearls and costly vases, to say nothing of an elephant and a bear.
The inner corridor gives an insight into the activities of the times. On the left-hand wall (c) Rekhmire supervises the delivery of corn, wine and cloth from the royal storehouses. He inspects carpenters, leather-workers, metal-workers and potters, who all came under his control. In the lower row is a somewhat damaged record for posterity of one of the most important tasks with which he was entrusted: supervising the construction of an entrance portal to the temple of Amon at Karnak. He held vigil over the manufacture of the raw material, the moulding of the bricks and their final use. Pylons and sphinxes, furniture and even household
utensils all came under his control. There are interesting scenes, to the left of the bottom row, of seated and standing statues being given final touches by the artist before polishing. The fascinating detail provides a pictorial treatise on the different industries of the times.
On the right-hand wall (d) Rekhmire may be seen at a table and there are traditional scenes of offerings before statues of the deceased, the deceased in a boat on a pond being towed by men on the bank, and a banquet with musicians and singers.


All the representations in this tomb show rhythm and free-posing, gesticulating and active figures. They are very different from the patterned group action with which we are familiar. The high premium traditionally set on balanced design was not lost. But the solid strings of people are gone, and with the break with the frieze the curtain is suddenly lifted on a picture of things as they really were: workers bending to mix mortar or squatting to carve a statue: a man who raises a bucket to his colleague's shoulder; another engrossed in carpentry; the elegant ladies of Rekhmire's household preparing for a social function with young female servants arranging their hair, anointing their limbs, bringing them jewelery. The message in these delightful murals is forceful and clear, with the dignified personage of the vizier himself towering over his subordinate sin administrative excellence.

Tomb of Rekhmire Plan - Tombs of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt. Part VII

Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt.
Rekhmire was vizier under Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II. The tomb follows the regular style of the 18th Dynasty nobles' tombs, comprising a narrow, oblong first chamber and a long corridor opposite the entrance. But this corridor rapidly gains in height to the rear of the tomb and runs Into the rock. It was inhabited by a farming family for many years and the wall decorations have suffered at their hands. The tomb is a memorial to personal greatness and a revelation on law, taxation and numerous industries. Professor Breasted described It as "the most Important private monument of the Empire".
Rekhmire was an outstanding vizier who was entrusted with a great many duties. There was nothing, he wrote of himself in an inscription, of which he was ignorant in heaven, on earth or in any part of the underworld. One of the most important scenes in the tomb is that on the left-hand wall of the first chamber near the corner (a). It shows the interior of a court of law in which tax evaders are brought to justice by the grand vizier himself. The prisoners are led up the central aisle, witnesses wait outside and at the foot of the judgement seat are four mats with rolled papyri.
These are proof that written law existed in 1500 B.C. Messengers wait outside and others bow deeply as they enter the presence of the vizier.
Near the center of the opposite wall (b) Rekhmire performs his dual role of receiving taxes from officials who annually came with their dues, and receiving tributes from the vassal princes of Asia, the chiefs of Nubia,etc. The foreign gift-bearers are arranged in five rows: from the Land of Punt (dark skinned), from Crete (hearing vases of the distinctive Minoan type discovered on the island by Sir Arthur Evans) , from Nubia, from Syria, and men, women and children from the South. The diverse and exotic tributes range from panthers, apes and animal skins, to chariots, pearls and costly vases, to say nothing of an elephant and a bear.
The inner corridor gives an insight into the activities of the times. On the left-hand wall (c) Rekhmire supervises the delivery of corn, wine and cloth from the royal storehouses. He inspects carpenters, leather-workers, metal-workers and potters, who all came under his control. In the lower row is a somewhat damaged record for posterity of one of the most important tasks with which he was entrusted: supervising the construction of an entrance portal to the temple of Amon at Karnak. He held vigil over the manufacture of the raw material, the moulding of the bricks and their final use. Pylons and sphinxes, furniture and even household
utensils all came under his control. There are interesting scenes, to the left of the bottom row, of seated and standing statues being given final touches by the artist before polishing. The fascinating detail provides a pictorial treatise on the different industries of the times.
On the right-hand wall (d) Rekhmire may be seen at a table and there are traditional scenes of offerings before statues of the deceased, the deceased in a boat on a pond being towed by men on the bank, and a banquet with musicians and singers.


All the representations in this tomb show rhythm and free-posing, gesticulating and active figures. They are very different from the patterned group action with which we are familiar. The high premium traditionally set on balanced design was not lost. But the solid strings of people are gone, and with the break with the frieze the curtain is suddenly lifted on a picture of things as they really were: workers bending to mix mortar or squatting to carve a statue: a man who raises a bucket to his colleague's shoulder; another engrossed in carpentry; the elegant ladies of Rekhmire's household preparing for a social function with young female servants arranging their hair, anointing their limbs, bringing them jewelery. The message in these delightful murals is forceful and clear, with the dignified personage of the vizier himself towering over his subordinate sin administrative excellence.

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