• Marsh-related activities
  • Hunting a hippopotamus
Tomb Owner
Tomb number
9th Dynasty
South end of the south half of the west wall (entrance wall) of the main chamber.
Theme Description
Scenes representing the hippopotamus hunt regularly appear in the royal iconography since the 1st dynasty. In the Old Kingdom, the theme is also well attested in the decoration programme of the tombs of the officials where, however, only minor figures carry out the task (see: OEE 1.5). The tomb owner is never shown to act by himself. In the First Intermediate Period the theme reappears only once, namely in the tomb of Ankhtifi (Vandier, J., Moalla. La Tombe d'Ankhtifi et la Tombe de Sébekhotep, pl. XLI). The officials’ tombs of the Middle Kingdom continue to depict the hippopotamus as a part of the marshland in the fishing and fowling scenes (sometimes in the traditional posture with the head turned backwards and the mouth wide open) and mention the hunt in the texts, however, an image of the hunt is not being reproduced anymore. The only possible evidence in the tradition of the Old Kingdom might come from the tomb of Djehutynakht VI (Newberry, P. E., El Bersheh II, pp. 19 – 20). A single attestation dated to the First Intermediate Period – Middle Kingdom depicting the tomb owner in person hunting a hippopotamus (Borchardt, L., Denkmäler des Alten Reiches II, pl. 83 (CG 1621) might indicate a change in the understanding of the theme. According to Behrmann (Das Nilpferd in der Vorstellungswelt der Alten Ägypter, Teil II, pp. 150 – 161), the reproduction of the hunt might have been in the Middle Kingdom replaced by new types of grave goods like hippopotamus faience statuettes.