1.04.2009

The Mystery of the Tomb of Nebamun

Growing up, this was my favorite Egyptian painting.

It's back on display in the British Museum, though it's still a bit of a mystery. The fresco and its companion panels may be masterpieces, but they come from the tomb of a middle-ranking nobody: Nebamun.

We're not even sure where his tomb was:
Nor do historians have any record of the original tomb's location. The man who discovered them was a Greek grave robber called Giovanni d'Athanasi, who dug them up in Thebes, as Luxor was then known, and then passed them on, via a collector, to the British Museum. However, in 1835 D'Athanasi fell out with curators over his finder's fee and refused to divulge the precise position of the tomb. He took his secret to the grave, dying a pauper in 1854 in Howland Street, a few minutes' walk from the museum. Ever since, archaeologists have searched in vain for the tomb of Nebamun and any treasures that it may still contain.
Raiders of the lost art - The Guardian

A few fresco fragments made their way to Berlin; others, believed to be from the same tomb, were stopped by Egyptian customs and are now in Cairo.

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