The Griffith Institute
University of Oxford
Bersha Watercolours

Griffith Institute w&d 162 | A blue feather fly whisk

Griffith Institute Watercolour 162
Griffith Institute w&d 162
© Griffith Institute Watercolours & Drawings Project

Artist Marcus W. Blackden.

Date 1891, probably.

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

A blue feather fly whisk (held by one of Djehutihotep's female relatives).
From scene: Djehutihotep with female relatives.

Technical data
264 mm x 232 mm.
Signature on watercolour,
'M. W. B' [Marcus W. Blackden]
Mount, recto,
'Tracing'; 'El Bersheh I. Pl. 30.'; 'cf. El-Bersheh I. Pl: XXX.'; 'Tehutihotep held by nomarch in ship ?'.
Mount, verso,
'Beni Hasan'; 'El Bersheh. I.'; 'Pl: XXX.'; '2'.

Griffith Institute w&d

See PM iv.180(20)-(21) | TopBib 409-060-010-020; GI w&d Deir el-Bersha Project; Newberry, P. E. El Bersheh i [1894], 38 pls. xxiv, xxx.

On the east wall of Djehutihotep's Hall in his tomb is a scene depicting the noble standing surveying the vibrant activity of his estate servants who ensured their master's palace and grounds were well looked after. Standing in attendance in front of the now destroyed figure of Djehutihotep are his female relatives, including his mother, wife, daughters and sisters. Djehutihotep's relatives are being waited on in turn by their female servants who are carrying with them the ladies' possessions should they be required.

The female servants are arranged in two rows facing their mistresses; the servant leading the lower row of servants carries a mirror in one hand and a fly whisk in the other. Marcus W. Blackden has copied a small detail from this figure which shows the servant's hand holding the fly whisk, the hand is painted starting at the wrist and shows the back of the clenched hand with the thumb extended displaying a neatly manicured nail. The hand clasps the fly whisk midway along the handle; the handle is straight and then bends at the top resembling a curved handled staff. The handle is decorated with black and white bands, has a brown, or metal?, finial at one end and a similar coloured fitting at the other to which is attached a decorative cap shaped as a stylised lily flower whose petals are coloured black and white to match the handle. Hanging from the lily-flower cap are three long blue feathers which would be whisked back-and-forth to discourage any insects from irritating or landing on the body.

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.