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Anubis Guarding the Entrance to the Tomb of Pashedu

Photograph by Brian Brake of the Tomb of Peshedu from a series on ancient Egypt for ‘Life’ in 1966. From collection of Museum of New Zealand, object number CT.043890.

Located in the necropolis of the worker's village of Deir el-Medina lies the tomb of Pashedu (TT 3), a stonemason and later foreman who lived during the reigns of Ramesses II and Seti I in Dynasty 19. During his life, he held the title of "Servant in the Place of Truth on the West of Thebes" and was responsible for cutting the corridors, chambers, and pillared halls of the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Pashedu’s own tomb had a simple layout which was largely undecorated except for the corridor and burial chamber, which showed images of the gods receiving offerings and guiding him into the afterlife.

The corridor is guarded by a large painting on either wall of the god Anubis in the form of a black jackal, sitting alert on a shrine with cavetto cornices. Since the first dynasty of Egypt’s history in c. 3100 BC, Anubis was being depicted as a protector of graves and was associated with death, mummification, embalming, the afterlife, cemeteries, tombs, and the Underworld. Between Anubis' hind paws he holds a nekhakha, or flail, a symbol of power originally associated with Osiris, the god of the dead and the underworld.

The red background Anubis sits against is decorated with beads and this pattern is often used in Egyptian art to represent the beadnet dresses worn by elite women and goddesses such as Hathor. Above the swathe of red cloth, another sheet of white decorated cloth hangs, separated by a floral garland. It gives the impression of Anubis sitting within a pavilion draped in colourful cloth.

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