Tomb owner spear-fishing in the marshlands, a scene from the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan

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

The tomb owner spears fish in the marshlands while standing on a large papyrus boat. This scene appears on the right panel of the chapel's east wall General view of the chapel's east wall. Khnumhotep's pose and the boat on which he stands mirror the fowling scene on the opposite wall panel Tomb owner catching birds in the marshlands. Khnumhotep holds a spear made of reeds. The end of the spear has pierced the two traditional fish, a tilapia and a Nile perch.

Above the scene a horizontal line of text identifies the tomb owner: jrj-pꜤt ḥꜢtj-Ꜥ wr mḥjt ꜤšꜢ Ꜣpdw mrjj šḫt nbt ḥb H̱nmw-ḥtp(.w) 'the hereditary prince, the count, one great of fish and rich in fowl, the beloved of Sekhet, lady of the catch, Khnumhotep'. Nine vertical lines above the tomb owner's head describe his actions shown in this panel. They read: ḫns šꜢw sšw pḥww jn jrj-pꜤt ḥꜢtj-ꜤꜢ jmj-r wḥꜤw šꜢw sšw wḥꜤ ḥb rdj.n(.f) kꜢp dj.f sḫt n nmwt wrt wḥꜤ ḏ(Ꜥ) rdj.n(.f) sn (s sic) rm.f 30 ḥs.wj hrw stt db ḥꜢtj-Ꜥ Nḥrj sꜢ H̱nmw-ḥtp(.w) jr n BꜢḳt 'traversing the swamps, the fowl ponds and the marshlands by the hereditary prince, the count, the overseer of the fishermen/fowlers of the swamps and fowl ponds, and the fisherman/fowler of the catch. (He) has set the screen that he may work the trap of the great clap net. Releasing the spear, he caused to spear his 30 fish. How delightful is the day of spearing the hippopotamus. The count, Nehri's son, Khnumhotep, born to Baqet'.

Two men accompany Khnumhotep on his trip. Standing on the same wooden deck of the boat and facing the tomb owner is a man described as jrj mrḥt H̱nmw-ḥtp(.w) 'the keeper of salve, Khnumhotep'. He has short, wavy hair, wears a long kilt and holds in one hand a spare spear and in the other a reel on which a line is wound. Standing behind the tomb owner is his son, wearing a shoulder-length wig, a beard, a sash and a long, transparent kilt. He holds three pintail ducks and is labelled sꜢ ḥꜢtj-Ꜥ wr Nḫt 'the eldest son of the count, Nakht'.

Birds and other marshland creatures perch at the top of the papyrus thicket on the tomb owner's left Animals in a papyrus thicket. A group of birds is in flight above the papyrus thicket < Kanawati & Evans, BH1, Pl. 77a.:Beni Hassan:Upper Cemetery:12th Dynasty:Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3):Chapel:Scene:East wall:Right section:Wall:Marsh related activities:Spear-fishing:>. The narrow register below the right panel features fighting boatmen Fighting boatmen.

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, Reign of Amenemhat II (c. 1918-1884 BCE).
Egypt, Beni Hassan, Upper Cemetery, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Chapel, East wall, Right section, Wall.
Tracing paper.
Parent Context
Kanawati & Evans, BH1, Pl. 61.:Beni Hassan:Upper Cemetery:12th Dynasty:Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3) II:Chapel:Scene:East wall::Wall:::
Data Credits
Compiled by Carly Blair 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), 116a, 135, 136 (lineart).
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
Carly Blair "Tomb owner spear-fishing in the marshlands, a scene 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.