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A Trio of Musicians

Tomb of Nakht (TT53), Thebes, Egypt

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My reproduction of a detail from a tomb painting from the tomb of Nakht (TT53) in Thebes dating to Dynasty 18, c. 1410-1370 BC. Nakht was a scribe and Astronomer of Amun and lived during the reigns of Amenhotep II and Amenhotep III. He was wealthy enough to have a richly painted tomb that contained scenes of his achievements in life and desires for the afterlife.

This trio of female musicians comes from a larger scene depicting the tomb owner Nakht taking part in the annual "Beautiful Festival of the Valley" celebration. This was when the cult statues of the gods Amun, Khonsu and Mut left Karnak Temple in a sacred barque and visited the shrines in the Theban necropolis. Music and dance played an important part in religious festivals and was seen as a way of praising the gods and encouraging jubilant worship.

The women are playing a double flute, a lute, and a harp-like instrument with more than a dozen strings and an elaborate soundbox decorated with animal skin. Each has unique features that separate her from her companions, including different hairstyles, floral headbands, and broad collars. Two are dressed in long tight-fitting dresses whilst the one in the middle is naked except for a narrow, beaded belt around her waist.

Dynasty 18


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