The Griffith Institute
University of Oxford
Bersha Watercolours
Tomb of Djehutinakht

GI w&d 165

The Tomb of Djehutinakht at Deir el-Bersha. Hall.
Kheker-frieze wall decoration

Reconstruction with Griffith Institute Watercolours

In decorated ancient Egyptian tombs it was customary to carve and paint the walls with scenes of daily life, including agriculture and industry. Depictions of funerary rites or worshipping of gods assisted the tomb owner's transition to the Afterlife, and vignettes showing the deceased hunting and feasting emphasise their intention of continuing an elevated status beyond death.

At the top of the walls, framing the scenes, were dedicatory inscriptions and kheker-friezes and decoration was often extended to the ceilings as well: attractive designs including architectural elements painted to imitate wood or hard stone, bunches of grapes or whole vine canopies 'growing' across a chamber, as well as animal and plant motifs which would be repeated within chequerboard-style grids.

Griffith Institute w&d 165, 166, 167 & Griffith, F. Ll. and Newberry, P. E. El Bersheh ii, pl. v
© Griffith Institute Watercolours & Drawings Project | Deir el-Bersha
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We are indebted to our Griffith Institute Research Volunteers, Lee Young and John Wyatt, who compiled the catalogue for these watercolours, and also to Dr Jaromir Malek, former Keeper of the Griffith Institute Archive, who initiated the cataloguing and digitization of this collection. Helen Murray, the first Keeper of the Archive, accessioned, numbered and arranged the watercolours in their present order.

The digitization of the watercolours was carried out by Jenni Navratil, the Institute's Digital Imaging Officer, assisted by Hana Navratilova. Francisco Bosch-Puche, Alison Hobby and Cat Warsi have all made significant contributions to all stages of this project. Elizabeth Fleming edited the final catalogue and designed the web page content.

A special thank you is extended to our colleagues at the Egypt Exploration Society in London for permission to use the line drawings published in F. L. Griffith & P. E. Newberry's El Bersheh ii [1895].