Private Tomb of - Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (TT51)
Who was Userhat
Userhat lived during the 19th dynasty and had an unusual post of grave responsibilities. He was also known as Neferhabef meaning First Prophet of the Royal Ka of Tuthmosis I. He served in the cult temple of Tuthmosis I. Userhat served during the reigns of Ramesses I and Seti I. The father and mother of Userhat were Khensem and Tausert and he is said to have had three wives and one son and a daughter.
The tomb of Userhat
Located among the Tomb of the Nobles at the west bank of Luxor in Egypt, the tomb of Userhat is referred as TT51. It lies in the Sheikh Abd el-Qurna region of this valley. Another tomb number TT56 was occupied by a person named Userhat but he was different than this one.
Discovered in 1903 by Sir Robert Mond, it’s believed to one of the most beautiful tombs in the region. However repeated robberies and vandalism led to the cutting off large pieces from the walls and even eyes of most of the figures were chiseled out. Some relief work has helped in restoring the beautiful artwork.
The tomb design
Tomb TT51 of Userhat is believed to have the traditional T shaped design. The courtyard is led by a short corridor that is followed by the vestibule. The public has access to only this part of the tomb. However, the structure continues with another corridor ending into a hall which has four pillars and a ritual shaft. The room then moves into a third corridor that is short and then to the burial chamber.
Decorations inside the tomb
Inside the tomb only a stelae in the courtyard and the vestibule is decorated. The stelae have scenes of the funeral ceremony before mummification of the owner, while the lower part has text illustrating the offerings.
The walls of the vestibule have several scenes like weighing of the heart of the dead, scenes of Osiris and Hathor. Userhat worshipping falcon headed Ra-Harakhty and funeral ceremony of Userhat are also there, another wall has scenes of men bearing gifts; the dead leaving a temple and the priests, also the cartouche of Tuthmosis I serving Ka are depicted.
Userhat is shown in scenes with two of his wives and a son making offerings to the various deities. Another scene depicts priests dressed in leopard skins and mourning women.
An unusual feature
Another scene illustrates Userhat with his wife and his mother Tausert. In this they are shown sitting under a fig tree with three small birds perching on the branches. Also, there are three spirits in the form of birds having human heads, the goddess of the tree is shown serving them bread, water, figs and apples. This painted scene in the tomb of Userhat is among the earliest known ones depicting the art of shading.
Also in the decoration are scenes of pilgrimage to Abydos, seen in most private tombs of the area. Scenes of worship, family members and relatives are found all over the walls of the tomb.