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Art and life in ancient Egypt
Art and life in ancient Egypt

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Week 3 The Nebamun paintings


The Nebamun painting held by the British Museum are frequently described as ‘fragments’. But the term ‘fragment’ is slightly misleading, for although none of the British Museum pieces show an entire scene as it would have existed in the original tomb-chapel, they do consist of relatively self-contained images, and are moreover quite substantial in size, around a meter wide.

Twelve smaller fragments also survive in other collections including Avignon, Lyons and Berlin, some of which can be located relative to the larger pieces.

It is possible to divide the paintings into a series of seven groups according to their subject matter and where they were probably placed in the original overall design of the rooms making up the tomb-chapel.

  • Funerary offerings
  • The banquet
  • Viewing the produce of the estates
  • Agricultural scenes
  • Offering bringers
  • Hunting in the marshes
  • The Garden of the west

This week you will explore these fragments in detail. Following a brief introduction, you will have the chance to explore this fragment in detail. After analysing individual fragments, you will look at the clues that help to retrieve some meaning and point towards a possible reconstruction of the original design.