The Griffith Institute
University of Oxford
Bersha Watercolours

Griffith Institute w&d 152 | Dahabîya carrying Djehutihotep

Griffith Institute Watercolour 152
Griffith Institute w&d 152
© Griffith Institute Watercolours & Drawings Project

Artist Howard Carter.

Date 1893, probably.

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

The towing of Djehutihotep's dahabîya, from the left end of the first register.
From scene: Four registers, Djehutihotep overseeing boats and stock take of cattle.

Technical data
752 mm x 472 mm.
Signature on watercolour,
'Howard. Carter.'
Mount, recto,
'Cf. El Bersheh I. Pl. XII'.
Mount, verso,
'El Bersheh No 51'; 'Mr Carter'.

Griffith Institute w&d

See PM iv.180(14)-(16) | TopBib 409-060-010-020; GI w&d Deir el-Bersha Project; Newberry, P. E. El Bersheh i [1894], 26-30 pls. xii [lower], xix.

Djehutihotep seated in a covered kiosk overseeing four registers showing the annual stocktake of cattle. The top register containing part of the cattle stocktake related scenes is partially damaged; this is what remains of Djehutihotep's elegant dahabîya which was part of the procession of boats carrying people to this important event. Djehutihotep is shown seated within a kiosk upon a low platform on the deck and close to the prow of the boat. What remains of the figure of the noble shows him facing towards the stern and holding a blue feather fly whisk with a black and white striped handle identifying his high status. To the left of the kiosk is a larger cabin with forked uprights supporting a long roof pole beneath which is a large reed mat which could be placed across the roof pole as a sunshade; in a break with the usual Egyptian convention of drawing objects in profile, mats are shown from above so to clearly illustrate what they are.

Djehutihotep is accompanied by two sailors. A pilot is standing at the prow of the dahabîya and is using a long stick to take depth soundings; he is also waving a white cloth as a signal to the rudderman standing at the stern, and between them they are gently bringing the dahabîya into dock. The dahabîya is being towed by another boat which contains a team of eight rowers. Percy Newberry writes in his publication for the tomb El Bersheh i [1894]: "it was the custom for a great man, in order to avoid the unpleasant neighbourhood of the sailors, to put the crew into a separate boat". This is Newberry's delicate way of suggesting that Djehutihotep didn't care too much for the sight, sound and smell of the rowers!

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