A Blog to Keep the Lizards Away. It's about posting and sharing the things I'm into. Hope you enjoy the show!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Ramose the Nobleman

18th dynasty nobleman Ramose and his wife

On Luxor's West bank, between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, the Tombs of the Nobles nestle quietly in the mountain range, above the Village of el Qurna. These tombs belong to the new kingdom pharaoh's royal court officials. The architects, administrators, treasurers and personal staff who were rewarded in death with a privileged burial and a peaceful afterlife, surrounded by their worldly goods in an elegant tomb.

Nobleman Ramose and his wife's Theban tomb [TT55] is perhaps the most majestic. All of the tombs are beautiful but this one is spectacular in it's size and quality of construction.

Ramose was Vizier to both Amenhotep 111 and his son Amenhotep 1V [Akhenaten]. A Vizier was the highest post within the Administration. The simplistic design and workmanship illustrate the exquisite style of the 18th dynasty. The tomb is lined in white alabaster, a perfect palette for ancient sculptors and painters. The artistic work is a mix of Amenhotep's precise form and Akhenaten's natural Amarna style that went on to influence Tutankamen's reign.

For over 400 years, the tombs of the Nobles were watched over by residents of the el Qurna village. The Qurna villagers started by living in the entrances to the tombs and over time new generations expanded these makeshift homes into quite large mudbrick houses. They lived off the tourists and were known to deal in mostly fake antiquities, they claimed came from the tombs behind their houses.

The Qurna village has all but gone now, in the name of progress the villagers were evicted and their houses razed. They now live in New Qurna, a desolate site in the desert, in new but much smaller government houses, already crumbling after only three years.

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