This is a translation of an article I wrote...I apologyse for my english, I put it here under advise of Neb....ehehehehe
In order to better understand this show, it is necessary to ask why it has been realized. It is not a mere exposition of the pieces found, even because the 18 pieces exposed are not strictly connected to the tomb itself, but with the historical and political context and with the person of Harwa. This show gives much importance to the current studies regarding not only Harwa, but under a wider view to the general interpretation that has been given until now to the historical context whose consequences touch also politicals, artistic and social matters. This means that the interpretation that we give to the Third Intermediate Period will have to be review.
My first impression while getting out of the show was that the main goal of the organizers (Dottoressa Silvia Einaudi and Dottor Francesco Tiradritti) was to focus the attention of the public on the works that have been done and those which are still in progress……inside the show there are two internet points through which it is possible to see all kind of uncovered, studies and restorations that have been done and to follow all the events on real time. The first thing that we can see is that there is still a lot to do, but making a comparaison between the pictures of what has been found and what has been done, it seems that we are facing two different places. Works started in 1995 and now the tomb has completely changed.
Here few words from Dott.ssa Silvia Einaudi will follow.
“The period in which this tomb was realized is one of the most confused and argumentative. During XI and VIII centuries the great kingdoms disappeared leaving new people to fragment Egypt into small regions fighting one another and consequently giving the chance to Nubian kings to take advantage of the situation. This period has called Third Intermediate Period, meaning it as a passage between the gorgeousness of the New Kingdom and the glory of the XXVI dynasty. The hints collected during our researches seem to draw a different situation. Harwa’s grave shows the signs of a sort of “renaissance”. The decorations are typical from Old and Mid Kingdoms, but they are reviewed according to the sensitivity of the age, which can happen only in a canty, brilliant context. These considerations lead us to organize the show in order to create a moment of observation and to try to understand what was the meaning of our conclusion”.
The pieces exposed can show us these recalls to the Old Kingdom style. Harwa represented as a cube-statue, borrowed by Louvre Museum, whose style is typical from Middle Kingdom (1300 years before!), including the wig. Another statue coming from Louvre representing a couple, Untel the cancellor of the King of Lower Egypt and his wife Hator, belonging to the XXV or XXVI dyn, is clearly imitating those from Old Kingdom. The two are standing, she is straight and the man is walking, they are both wearing important wigs, which are typical of ancient times. The whole statue recall of the triad of Menkhaura. Another cube-statue of a priest named Merenptah, from the Museo Egizio di Torino, with strong lineament of the face and an unhandy wig…..
Harwa himself was a very important person. He was a Great Priest, Maggiordomo of Princess Amenirdis I, Divine Adoratrice of Amon in Tebe’s temple, her power was almost unlimited. One wshabty from Harwa, borrowed from Boston Museum of Fine Arts, is representing him with the sceptres of the King (Heka and Nekaka), just to give an idea of his power. He was Governor of all nomoi of Upper Egypt. To underline this fact are the dimensions of his tomb which is, with its 4500ms, one of the biggest private tombs ever built in Ancient Egypt. Also, as already said, the decorations inside this tomb are clearly imitating the Old and Middle Kingdom style, just changing few concepts and adapting them to the taste and ideas of that time.
Have a look at this tomb! It is huge and its particular structure is wonderful!
Here is a list of the locales, just to give you an idea which you can confirm checking the images inside the site above.
1- ramp; 2- quarry; 3- portic; 4- vestibule; 5- courtyard; 6- entrance to the first pillared hall; 7- first pillared hall; 8- entrance to the second pillared hall; 9- second pillared hall; 10- entrance to the Osiris shrine; 11- Osiris shrine; 12- access to the hypogeal rooms; 13- aisle; 14- tomb of Akhimenrw.
Description of the tomb.
The entrance is south. The ramp takes to the portic which lead to the vestibule, oriented north-south. Here is an open squared courtyard with pillard- portics in the northern and the southern sides. In the mid of the west side of the court there is a passage that leads to the hypogeal part of the tomb, with the main axis that turns 90 degrees west. It has a vaulted ceiling and a small ramp connecting the unevenness of 80 cm between the floors of the courtyard and that of the first pillared hall. The first pillared hall has one main nave and two side aisle created by two lines of four squared pillars and along the north and south sides there are five rooms. A small passage leads to the second pillared hall which is smaller than the first and squared and that has only three of the four pillars that once was decorating the room. The last and small passage leads to the Osiris shrine at bottom of which there is an image of Osiris is carved in the rocks in high-relief. The frame of the sculpture has the same style of ancient temple of Osiris; eight stairs take to the statue with a small ramp. In the north-west corner there is a cube-statue of Harwa, carved in the stone. Going back to the open courtyard, in the south-west corner there is a opening that leads to an aisle which describe a square around the tomb, the southern side of which is slightly deviated to north in order to avoid a ramesside tomb. The northern side of this aisle was not ended by Harwa but it was extended by Akhimenrw to built his own tomb.
It looks like if Harwa’s tomb was built to represent specific meaning, not just as a grave, but to tell about the human and the divine nature, relatively to the death and the eternal rebirth. The most important section of the tomb is developed in the hypogeal side, and the sequence courtyard-pillared halls-final shrine meet the classical and ancient Egyptian temples scheme. Another important detail underlines the need to suggest the Osiris myth: the long aisle that surround the hypogeal tomb, has the clear aim to isolate the central part of the grave, which is a clear reference to the Isle where Isis buried her husband.
According to Tiradritti and Einaudi the conclusion is that the plan is inspired to the Osireion, built by Sethy I in Abydos. Here the burial place of the King of the Deads is an isle in the hypogeal side of the grave, which is surrounded by a great ditch with the water coming from the Nile.
Following this ideal link, also Taharqa tomb was built. His burial room is found underneath his pyramid in Nuri (Sudan) and it has a long aisle running around it.
Harwa’s journey to the Underworld.
On the southern wall of the first pillared hall starts Harwa’s tale. It is expressed in first person, it is the “plea to the alives” (I hope it is correct!) in which the subject tells about all good actions he did in his life. These texts, belonging to the First Intermediate Period, describe the ideal life.
The sides of the pillars facing the main nave of the first pillared hall, have decoration showing the “Ritual of the Hours of the Day and Night”. On the southern pillars, beamed east to west, the Ritual of the Hours of the Day is shown; on the other side, beamed west to east, the Ritual of the Hours of the Night is shown (the Underworld). This way a circle is created symbolising the eternal perpetuate of time.
Then there is the description of the death. On the southern wall of the entrance to the second pillared hall, Harwa is represented together with Anubi, who is preceeding Harwa and seems to “pull” him by the hand. They are not hand in hand as always: Harwa’s fingers are straight and Anubi is holding it tight. The feeling is of anguish and fear because it looks like if Harwa wish to elude the hold of the god and try to escape his destiny, but of course he has no choise. This kind of feeling has never been expressed in Ancient Egyptian funerary art. All the scene is much more dramatic by the fact that this wall is the last to be illuminated by the sun and that the kind of light is just a reflex irradiated by the candid limestone pavement of the courtyard. Actually from this point Harwa’s journey proceeds in the dark.
There are few things that I wish to consider….the first is that this show is FREE, through ONLUS association they are collecting money, selling the catalogue of the show and a DVD, in order to continue the excavations and the studies on the site of Harwa……the second is that unfortunately it would be of more help to have the catalogue BEFORE entering the show. The book explains very well the incredible job they have done in this tomb about excavations, studies, restorations….the third is that it would be amazing to do the same also with other sites, like Baharyia for example. It would be wonderful to let people know what is going on also in other excavations, in similar situations. People cannot realize what is the entity of certain uncovered and it is a pity.