Tombs in the Plain, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Some of the finest tombs in all of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna lie in the desert plain to the west of the road to Deir el-Bahri, amid the rubble mounds between the Ramesseum and the Upper Precinct.
Tomb of Ramose
The largest of the Tombs in the Plain, and the most interesting from the historical and artistic points of view, is No. 55, the Tomb of Ramose, Governor of Thebes and Vizier under Amenophis IV. Constructed at the beginning of the heretic King's reign, it is one of the few monuments dating from the period of transition from the old religion to the exclusive veneration of the sun. The tomb was left unfinished when the capital was transferred from Thebes to Tell el-Amarna. Most of the decoration, some of it in delicate low relief, show the old style of Amenophis III's reign, but there are also a number in the new Amarna style.From the forecourt we enter a large hypostyle chamber, the roof of which is borne on four rows of eight columns. On the left hand (north) half of the east wall are delicate reliefs in the style of Amenophis lll's reign (from left to right): Ramose and his wife, followed by officials, presenting votive gifts; above, the dead man, with his wife Merit-ptah behind him and his three daughters in front of him; below, the purifying water being poured over the dead man; Ramose and his wife, along with another couple, receiving votive gifts brought by servants; below, Ramose and his wife, with Amenhotep, "Chief Steward of the King in the nome of Memphis", and his wife, seated at table, with a priest wearing a panther skin performing rites in front of them. On the south wall are vividly colored paintings of funeral scenes (note the fine group of women mourners in the lively Amarna style); below, right, Ramose entering the palace. At the far end of the wall a sloping shaft leads into the tomb chamber. On the left hand half of the west wall is Amenophis IV, still depicted in the old conventional manner, seated under a canopy with Maat, goddess of truth, with Ramose (twice) standing in front of them. On the right hand half of the wall (in Amarna style) the King, his unattractive figure depicted with great naturalness, and his beautiful wife are seen on a balcony of the palace, watching Ramose (figure merely sketched in) being adorned with the gold chain they have thrown down to him; above them, the sun, its rays streaming down, behind them the royal bodyguard; farther right, Ramose leaving the palace with his decoration and receiving congratulations.In the passage leading to a chamber on a lower level: on the left, Ramose and his wife (only partly preserved) praying; on the right, Ramose and his wife entering the tomb. The lower chamber, with eight papyrus cluster columns, is unfinished and undecorated. Beyond it is a small chamber with unfinished niches.
Tomb of Userhet
On the north side of the court is No. 51, the Tomb of Userhet, First Prophet of Tuthmosis I. The tomb was constructed in the reign of Sethos I. On the right hand end wall is a charming scene: the dead man and two women seated under a tree, accompanied by their souls in the form of birds; in the tree are other birds, and there are many other attractive details; on the right a goddess dispensing water to the dead man. Rear wall, to the right of the door (now blocked) into the corridor: above, the dead man and his sisters making offerings to Osiris; below, the dead man and his sisters in the presence of Tuthmosis (who is depicted with a black skin).
Tomb of Khaemhet
Immediately adjoining is No. 57, the Tomb of Khaemhet, Superintendent of the Royal Granaries under Amenophis III, which has fine low reliefs.In the forecourt are remains of the funerary stela. In the entrance doorway, on the left, the dead man is depicted with his arms raised in prayer to the sun god. In the first wide chamber, on the left, is a niche with two much mutilated statues of Khaemhet and his relative Imhotep, a Royal Scribe, who was buried in an adjacent (inaccessible) tomb. On the wall to the right of the entrance: the dead man making an offering of two brace of geese; above, left (two rows), surveying the fields; below, lively harvest scenes. Rear wall, to the left: Khaemhet reports on the harvest to Amenophis III, who is enthroned under a canopy; at the foot of the throne, nine captured tribes. To the right, similar scenes: the King is seated on a splendid throne, on which he is depicted as a sphinx; behind Khaemhet are two rows of his officials in respectful attitudes; top row, Khaemhet is arrayed with ornaments and anointed. In the long corridor are badly damaged scenes and inscriptions relating to the life beyond the tomb. In the side chambers and the niche in the rear wall of the corridor are large and finely polished statues. Beside the niche is a door leading into a small undecorated chamber.
Tomb of Pere
To the west of the Tomb of Ramose is No. 139, the Tomb of Pere, Priest of Amun, perhaps in the reign of Tuthmosis IV, which has a number of well preserved paintings.Right hand entrance wall and facing the rear wall: the dead man and his wife receiving votive gifts. End wall: the dead man and his wife, followed by their family, praying to Osiris; below, in three rows, funeral rites (funeral procession, the mummy's journey to Abydos, "opening of the mouth" ceremony).
Tomb of Neferhotep
To the east of the tomb of Khaemhet, close to the road, is a court round which are four tombs. On the south side is No. 50, the Tomb of Neferhotep, a Priest in the reign of Horemheb. The sunk reliefs in this early 19th Dynasty tomb have already lost the liveliness of 18th Dynasty art.The first wide chamber has fine and well preserved ceiling paintings. Left hand end wall: the dead man is decorated with chains of honor in the presence of the King. Rear wall, to left of the door into the corridor: the dead man and his family, with a son bringing in food; below, left, a harpist, with the text of the song he is singing in front of him. The song is repeated on the right hand wall of the corridor, on which the dead man and his wife are depicted seated at the offering table. In the niche are statues of the dead man and his family.
Tomb of Userhet
Close to the Tomb of Ramose, to the south, is No. 56, the Tomb of Userhet, which dates from the reign of Amenophis II. It has fine wall paintings and attractive ceiling decoration.Right hand half of the rear wall: the dead man presenting gifts to the King; to the left, store rooms with different kinds of bread; below, left, barbers at work. Left hand wall of the corridor: the dead man in his chariot hunting gazelles and in the marshes; below, catching fish. Right hand wall: funeral scenes.
Tomb of Amenwesu
On the east side of the court is No. 111, the Tomb of Amenwesu, a painter, who himself executed the paintings and inscriptions on religious themes. The tomb dates from the reign of Ramesses II. On the west side of the court is the Tomb of Khensumose (No. 30), which is almost totally ruined and inaccessible.
The Tomb of Nakht at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna dates to the 18th Dynasty. It is significant for the well preserved paintings which line the first chamber.