MEHU: HIS IDENTITY AND THE ARCHITECTURAL AND ARTISTIC FEATURES OF HIS TOMB
Document Type: Original Article
Higher Institute for Tourism & Hotels, Luxor (EGOTH), Egypt
Located in the Wenis cemetery, Mehus mastaba was used by three individuals of the same family, Mehu, Meryreankh and Hotepka. With its well preserved decoration and with the variety and frequently original themes depicted on its walls, the mastaba may be considered as one of the most important tombs of the Old Kingdom. The owner probably had royal blood and was also married to a daughter of a king, possibly Wenis. He held the vizierate under Wenis, Teti and early under Pepy I, and accordingly during Weserkares reign. The architecture of Mehus mastaba seems to have been inspired by those of Ti and Ptahhotep I, and all three influenced other mastabas, such as that of Mereruka. The artists of Mehus chapel were very competent and paid special attention to details, but those of Meryreankh and Hotepka, were generally less capable. Similarities between Mehus scenes and those of Mereruka are evident in the flute players amongst the harvesters, the attendants catching Egyptian mongooses by the tail in the fowling scenes, and the sleeping/preparation to sleep during the pilgrimage trips. Comparison with other tombs shows similarities, for example in the mating crocodiles (Mehu, Kagemni and Hesi), the crocodiles swallowing fish headfirst (Khnumenti at Giza and Mehu, Kagemni and Mereri at Saqqara) and the high-kicking dance (Mehu, Kagemni, Ankhmahor, and Merefnebef). However, the aggressive scenes found for instance in Mererukas chapel are missing in that of Mehu, which may reflect his personality.
Chapel, Cemetery, Old Kingdom, Sarcophagus, Abydos.
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