« السابقةمتابعة »
M. J. F. Meinaut, the French Consul in Egypt, and purchased for the Museum, at his sale in 1837, for 500/. It was first made known in Europe by Mr. Bankes, who circulated privately lithographs taken from it; then by Caillaud, Champollion, Mr. Salt, Dr. Young, Mr. Burton, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson. Of these copies M. Caillaud's is the most complete, but Sir G. Wilkinson's the most correct as to its present state, the tablet having suffered considerable mutilation between the respective visits to it of M. Caillaud and Sir Gardner Wilkinson. Its chief value consists in this, that it gives a chronological succession of the Monarchy, the commencement of which is uncertain, but which terminates with Rameses the Great, who makes an offering to his ancestors and predecessors on the throne. Each line reads in a direction perpendicular to that at the base of the Monument, which gives the name of King Rameses under its different forms. Thus the Tablet, when entire, expressed "Libation made by the King Rameses to the Kings," &c., in a horizontal line which surmounted it; and then to each King in succession, their names following in order from 1 to 52. The succession is from right to left, similar to the Karnak ^Tablets. By no means the whole of what remains can be made out, but there seems satisfactory evidence for the names of the first five or six Kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, from B.c. 2082—1822, and for those of the first fourteen (omitting the tenth) of the Eighteenth Dynasty, from B.c. 1822— 1499; but most of the readings of these names are confirmed by other monuments in different parts of Egypt.
7. Sepulchral Tablets.
This large collection of sepulchral memorials records the names of persons from which these tablets have been procured. They are much alike, especially to the uninstructed eye; and, though valuable to the Egyptian scholar, as supplying him with additional materials to aid in the interpretation of his difficult language, they possess comparatively little interest for the majority of visitors. From the 400 which are placed along the walls and in different parts of this room, a few may be here especially noticed.
Some are of an extremely ancient date: thus, No. 212, a tablet to the memory of a minister of Nepercheres, ascends to the remote period of the Fifth Dynasty; while Nos. 143, 145, 233, 256, 257, 258, 557, 558, 559, 562, 572-6, 581, and 585 belong to that of the Twelfth Dynasty. Some of them are remarkable for the subjects which are traced upon them, illustrative of the domestic manners and habits of the people at a very remote period. Thus,
No. 256 declares that the person it commemorates was Prefect of the Palace of Amen-em-ha, one of the] Kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, and contains a sort of family register.
No. 557 is a tablet of the same period, and represents a functionary seated on a chair before a table of viands, and having his four daughters before him; and below him are his father, mother, and brother. On this tablet are traces of the ancient paint.
No. 576, of the same period, is a dedication for Senatef, a chief of the Palace of King Amen-em-ha; his two brethren are represented bringing him a haunch, a goose, and some bread, and five other members of his family are present.
No. 579 is interesting, as showing that the tablet has, for some reason, never been finished, the squared net-work or canon for the guidance of the sculptor still being apparent on it, traced in red.
Some of the tablets are believed to be older than the Twelfth Dynasty, though their precise date has not been determined: of these, Nos. 563, 577-8, and 584 are specimens.
Some have an interest independent of their date or excellence of execution, from the names of the persons recorded on them. Thus,
No. 193 contains a representation of the Celestial Sun, or Agathodaemon, with a Greek honorary inscription, erected by the local'authorities and inhabitants of the village of Busiris to Tiberius Claudius Balbillus, Governor of Egypt under Nero.
Nos. 153 and 277 contain respectively representations of the monarch Amenophis I., standing and sitting. In the first instance, he is making offerings to Amen-ra and other Deities; in the second, he is seated beside his wife, holding in his hand the emblem of life.
No. 303 is an excellent specimen of Egyptian colouring, and is curious for the way in which it is divided into three separate divisions. The first division represents Kahu, the superintendent of the place where the offerings to Amen were deposited, clad in the skin of a panther and in the act of making various offerings to Isis, Osiris, and Anubis. The second denotes the same person, but wearing a different dress, seated by the side of his sister Nem, and receiving the offerings and adorations of his four sons. The third shows his daughters and younger children bringing various offerings of viands and green lotus flowers.
No. 305 is divided like the last, but into two divisions. In the first, the members of the family are seen offering funeral honours and weeping over four mummies, which are placed upright; and in the second, and lower one, the mummy of the deceased is laid out by Anubis.
Nos. 332, 344, 359, and 372 are curious, as showing the prevalence of an heretical worship of the sun's disk during the reign of Amenophis IV.
No. 398 represents the Roman Emperor Tiberius kneeling and offering a mirror to the deities Mut and Chons. This tablet appears to have been erected on account of certain repairs made to the shrines of these gods.
Besides what may be strictly called Sepulchral Tablets, answering nearly the same purpose as our modern grave-stones, there are several miscellaneous objects in the Egyptian Saloon, some of them, like the tablets, memorials of deceased persons, and some fragments found in different parts of Egypt, and procured by the Museum at different times from various travellers and collections. Among these are such monuments as the following, which admit of sub-arrangement for the convenience of those who are desirous of pursuing the study of Egyptian antiquities fully.
1. Sepulchral tablets in the form of doorways, generally dedicated to some god or goddess. Such are Nos. 235-9, 308, 324, 335, 556, and 569.
2. Sepulchral tablets in the form of altars for libations, generally dedicated to some god or goddess, and bearing on them offerings of different kinds, such as cakes of bread, vases of wine, parts of animals, &c. Such are Nos. 413-424, 502, 509, 553-4, 590-2, and 596.
3. Christian tablets, erected during the Roman period. Such as
Nos.405-7,408*, 409,601, 607. One of which, No.406, bears a Greek inscription, and appears to have been set up as late as the year A.d. 545-6.
4. Sepulchral Pyramidia, or small models of pyramids, on which
are generally represented either the deceased personage, or the emblems of one of the gods.
5. Models of small Naoi, generally of a rectangular shape,
and probably offerings in honour of some deceased person— by his friends or relations. Such are Nos. 412, 467, 476, and 597.
6. Jambs from the doors of tombs. Such as Nos. 160, 529-35,
550, 552. Of these, Nos. 530-5 are probably the oldest
Egyptian monuments in the British Museum. They are all portions of a tomb, procured by Mr. Salt from the neighbourhood of the Pyramids of Gizeh, and are believed to belong to the very remote aera of the Fourth Dynasty.
7. Fragments from tombs, some of very early date. Such are
Nos. 167**, 430, 444-5, 447, 449-451, 457-7, 527-28, 537-46, 598. Of these, Nos. 527 and 528 are attributed to the Fourth Dynasty.
8. Fresco paintings from the walls of tombs, Nos. 169-181. Some
of these are very curious; for instance. No. 170' represents a scribe of the royal wardrobes and granaries standing in a boat, accompanied by his children, and a cat catching water-birds among the reeds of the Papyrus. No. 171* is the registration by an attendant scribe of the delivery of ducks, geese, and eggs; and No. 1773 is the representation of a square pond, in which fish and ducks are represented swimming, and surrounded by trees. The peculiar arrangement of the trees round the pond proves that the artist of this monument was unacquainted with the ordinary rules of perspective.
9. Tablets with representations of animals, such as the Ibex,
No. 356; the Steer, No. 298; Snakes, No. 434; Hawks, Nos. 437,501; Lion-headed Hawk, No.480; Lions, Nos. 439, 441, 453; Cow of Athor, No. 459; Crocodile, No. 484; and Sphinx, No. 444*.
10. Miscellaneous fragments, consisting of
Small statues, Nos. 168, 470, 500, 503-4, 512-5.
Heads, Nos. 486-7, 526.
Busts, Nos. 489-492.
Obelisks, Nos. 523-4.
Models for Head-rests or Pillows, Nos. 426, 428.
And Basins, Nos. 28,108, 465, 495.
Lastly. A large collection of Sepulchral vases, Nos. 608-732. Originally, when complete, each in sets of four, with heads surmounting them of the four Genii of the Dead, called respectively, Amset (human-headed), Hapi (baboon-headed), Tuautmutf (jackal-headed), and Kebhsnuf (hawk-headed).
The principle of this quadruple arrangement was, that the ancient Egyptians were in the habit of dividing the viscera of the dead into four parts, and embalming them separately under the protection of their appropriate Deity. Thus the first appears to have presided over the stomach and large intestines; the second, over the small intestines; the third, over the lungs and heart; the fourth, over the liver and gall bladder. Each vase was inscribed with Hieroglyphics containing the formula appropriate to it. The Genii are addressed respectively by the four Deities, Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selk; or in some cases, the Genius tells the dead that he has come to his side, bringing him wax clothes, incense, and water.
The vases themselves are constructed of various materials, as Arragonite, Nos. 609-12, 614, 618, 621*-2, 628-635, 636-39 a complete set of four. Calcareous stone, 636-39, complete; 640-43 ditto 659-705. Pottery, Nos.648-652. Wood, Nob. 653-4. The most beautiful specimens are in Arragonite. Some of them are solid and only partially hollowed—and must therefore be presumed to have served as models. They are often found enclosed in large wooden boxes, and have been more frequently discovered in the tombs of Memphis than in those of Thebes or Abydos. They appear to have been used from the earliest times; thus Nos. 682-3 may possibly date even from the Fourth Dynasty: towards the close, however, of the Egyptian monarchy and under the Ptolemies, the entrails appear to have been embalmed in separate packets, which were wrapped up with the dead, and had each attached to them a small wax figure of its Genius.