Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wonderfull Things from the Valley of the Nobles

As I said in my recent physical progress post I've been looking more closely at Egyptian beards.  The iconic image is the pharaoh's beard.  Tutankhamen's beard looked like this:

The burial mask of King Tut (not Steve Martin)

Here's Kafre's:

Diorite statue of Kafre, builder of the middle pyramid at Giza

Beards like this were usually false and worn attached by hooks over the ears.  This is the type of beard I had been hoping to emulate with live whiskers: Fail!  Beards like that were braided, which radically narrows it from the root.  The follicular growth under my chin is quite respectable by the standards of my northern European ethnic background.  But such growth is far too sparse to produce a braid as thick and stiff as a pharaoh's false beard.  And lets be honest, what modern person wants to pack their beard with clay?  So that's where I was several months ago.

But I'm not emulating a pharaoh.  As per SCA corpora, I'm emulating a nobleman.  And there just so happens to be a large group of tombs of noblemen at Luxor/Thebes.  They're just north northwest of the Ramseseum at a place called Sheikh Abd el-Qurna.  It's also called the Valley of the Nobles.  There's a great set of pictures at  Here's a few of them:

Painting from the tomb of Nakht, Scribe of the Granaries under Thutmose IV
Carving from the tomb of Ramose, Vizier during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten
Painting from the tomb of Sennedjem, artisan during the reigns of Seti I and Ramesses II, pictured seated with his wife.
These are beautiful examples of the nobleman's beard.  This form of the beard is something I can accomplish.  And I think I have.  See for yourself:

A mirror image of Nakht's beard, right?

But it's not just beards that I found in the Valley of the Nobles.  I found beautiful depictions of clothing.  I'm specifically looking for tunics and other items which an Egyptian could wear for warmth.  Here are a few examples:

Painting from the tomb of Sennefer, Mayor of the City of Thebes and Overseer of the Granaries, Fields, Gardens, and Cattle of Amun during the reign of Amenhotep II

Painting from the tomb of Rekhmire, Vizier under Thutmose III and Amenhotep II

Painting from the tomb of Menna, Scribe of the Fields under Thutmose IV
I plan on making my tunic based on this type of evidence, since I can't seem to find much actual cloth that has survived for three and a half millenia.  Also the tomb of Sennefer is an absolute jewel.  It's known as the Tomb of the Vines.  I am taking a lot of inspiration from his tomb. Perhaps I'll even use his style to decorate a trailer/pavilion if I ever get that motivated.  Here's a look at the tomb:

I wanna be like Sennefer