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Bersha Watercolours

Griffith Institute w&d 67 | A group of hieroglyphs with a bird and two fish

Griffith Institute Watercolour 67
Griffith Institute w&d 67
© Griffith Institute Watercolours & Drawings Project

Artist Howard Carter.

Date Not dated, probably 1893.

Deir el-Bersha.
Tomb of Djehutihotep. Temp. Sesostris II and Sesostris III.
Hall (Inner Room). North wall, East part.

A group of hieroglyphs with a bird, probably an Egret, and two fish: a Mullet (Mugil cephalus) and a Bulti or Nile tilapia, (Oreochromis niloticus) from column of text in front of Djehutihotep.
From scene: Djehutihotep with daughter accompanied by their servants, receiving eight registers of offering bearers bringing fish and fowl.

Technical data
154 mm x 210 mm.
Mount, recto,
'Howard Carter' [signature].'; 'pl. VII. 97, 98'; 'Pl. XX.''; 'El Bersheh'.
Mount, verso,
'El Bersheh Mr Carter'; 'Hieroglyphs. Pl. VII. fig. 91 97 98.'.

Griffith Institute w&d

See PM iv.180(19) | TopBib 409-060-010-020; GI w&d Deir el-Bersha Project; Newberry, P. E. El Bersheh i [1894], 31-2 pl. xx.

A group of hieroglyphs from a column of text in front of a large figure of Djehutihotep from his tomb at Deir el-Bersha. This scene shows the tomb owner presented with a large quantity of fish and birds, the result of hauls caught and depicted in other scenes from the same wall.

On account of its reddish legs the bird represented here is most likely a Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) which is a very common bird still found along the Nile and Egyptian canals today, although a few inconsistances in the artist's rendering means other candidates such as the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) and African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) cannot be entirely ruled out.

The bird is shown pecking at a captured Mullet (Mugil cephalus). These two signs together are to be read as ḥȝm which translates as 'catch fish', the sign at the bottom is probably a Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) which is referred to as bulti in modern Egypt. The tilapia is the first hieroglyph of a group of three different species of fish, the other two not shown here, transcribed as rm(w), the plural for 'fish'. The translation of Djehutihotep's inscription reads 'Seeing the making of a large capture of fish, greater than anything'.

Cataloguing John Wyatt & Lee Young | Commentary John Wyatt
Photography Jenni Navratil, assisted by Hana Navratilova
Editing and web pages Elizabeth Fleming, assisted by Francisco Bosch-Puche & Cat Warsi.