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Collections / Itineraries / Egyptian Collection: the tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara

Relief with a scene of a military encampment from the tomb of Horemheb

The relief comes from the first court of the tomb of Horemheb and describes some episodes of daily life inside a military camp. At the center is situated a camp pavilion destined to the commander: on the upper floor are stored furniture and food provisions, at the bottom, under the watchful eye of Horemheb in person, a soldier pours water to compact the beaten earth floor, while another sweeps holding the door wide open.

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The dynamism of the sculpted scene, faithfully rendering the bustling activity of a military encampment, is the most significant element in this relief, which still bears traces of its painted decoration. A field tent is depicted in the middle: on the upper level we see piles of furnishings and provisions, while on the ground level – under Horemheb’s watchful eye – a soldier is sweeping the floor as another one douses it with water to tamp it down. A third soldier, in front of the open door of the structure, has his right hand raised to his shoulder as a sign of respect towards his departing superior, although some scholars think it is a reaction to being struck. On the opposite side, a man is giving orders to a water bearer. The different statures of the figures suggest various depths of field of the action as well as the soldiers’ different ranks, also emphasized by the wigs and batons of command.

Provenance: Saqqara: tomb of Horemheb. Palagi Collection (Nizzoli)
Datation: 18th dynasty: reign of Tutankhamen (1332–1323 BC)
Material: Limestone
Dimensions: cm 62 x 106
Inventory #: EG 1888

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