Leaders of an Asiatic procession, a detail from the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan

Egypt, Beni Hassan, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Upper Cemetery, Chapel, North wall.

Two non-Egyptian men bring animals and offerings to the tomb owner. This detail occurs within the scene of an Asiatic procession on the chapel's north wall General view of the north wall. The two men represented as non-Egyptians have skin painted yellow, large hooked noses, and greyish-blue eyes. They wear brightly coloured and patterned clothing speckled in red, blue and white. The men sport short pointed beards with coiffed, mushroom hairstyles.

The first foreigner in the procession is barefoot. He is given the caption ḥḳꜢ ḫꜢst JbšꜢ 'ruler of a foreign land, Ibsha', presenting the first recorded Middle Kingdom usage of the title. Scholars agree on a northwest Semitic origin for JbšꜢ's name. It has been equated with Abi-shai ('my father is king'), and Abi-sharie ('my father is strong'). Artistically distinct from the other men in his retinue, JbšꜢ wears the most colourful knee-length garment. It is draped over one shoulder with the other bare but for a white detail connecting the fabrics (possibly a pin). Intricate patterns and fringing along the sides of the garment point to its woollen textile. JbšꜢ bends forwards and holds in his left hand a banded, curved-stick with which he controls a Nubian ibex (Capra ibex nubiana). His right hand is extended with palm open, facing down.

The barefoot man behind JbšꜢ wears a colourfully banded kilt with a wavy waistline. He is represented with a unique object hanging at the tip of his beard. Lack of parallels restricts its identification, but perhaps it is a jewelled adornment or a water (possibly sweat) droplet. The man's lower body is hidden by a dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas), which he holds by the horn in his right hand and by the neck with a rope in his left hand. As he shares artistic details with the leader before him (both guide an animal, and are barefoot) but remains distinct from the men behind him in clothing and adornment, it is suggested here that this 'gazelle tamer' is the second-in-command of the foreigners.

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, Reign of Amenemhat II (c. 1918-1884 BCE).
Egypt, Beni Hassan, Upper Cemetery, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Chapel, North wall, Right Centre Section, Wall, 3.
Relief or Polychrome Paint.
Parent Context
:Beni Hassan:Upper Cemetery:12th Dynasty:Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3):Chapel:Scene:North wall:Middle section:Wall:::
Data Credits
Compiled by Shannon Collis and the Beni Hassan Research Group with resources from the Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre, and the Australian Centre for Egyptology.
Project Funding
Supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project scheme: DP160102223 "Measuring meaning in Egyptian art: A new approach to an intractable problem" held by N. Kanawati (MQ), L. Evans (MQ), A. Woods (MQ) and J. Kamrin (Met), the Macquarie University Department of Ancient History, and the Macquarie University Faculty of Arts.
Original Citation
N. Kanawati & L. Evans, Beni Hassan: Volume I: The Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Australian Centre for Egyptology: Reports 36, Aris and Phillips, Oxford, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-85668-846-1), pls. 43b (photograph),
Recorded and published with permission from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Photographs by Effy Alexakis as part of research on site. Copyright Macquarie University 2018. All rights reserved.
Cite this
Shannon Collis "Leaders of an Asiatic procession, a detail from the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan ." In The Beni Hassan Visual Dictionary: Khnumhotep II, edited by Alexandra Woods, Brian Ballsun-Stanton, and Nicolle Leary. Sydney: Macquarie University, 2018. https://benihassan.com/dictionary/Khnumhotep+II+Tomb+3/Leaders+of+an+Asiatic+procession/