Treasures of Ancient Egypt Day 6 – Counting the cows

All of Nebamun’s tomb paintings show the great man living his best life and trying to keep track of his enormous wealth. This painting shows local herders bringing their cows to him for counting, and presumably taxing. Needless to say, there are a lot of them.

click to enlarge © The Trustees of the British Museum

The cows jostle forward into the columns of light blue hieroglyphs. They crowd in on each other, each one unique in colour, pattern, horns and hairdo. The words above Nebamun praise his greatness. The words above the herders are like captions, recording the daft things they are saying. They are mostly telling each other to get a move on and not to talk to Nebamun!

Below you can get an idea of how the whole painting would have looked, before Belzoni got to it.

click to enlarge © The Trustees of the British Museum

Although we may question the process that led to these paintings being in the British Museum in the first place, we can not fault the way the museum have looked after them. They have recently undergone a painstaking five-year-long restoration process, to make them look as good as possible.

Published by

Stephen Davies

Children's author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

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