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date: 09 May 2021

Petosiris, tomb oflocked

  • Robert S. Bianchi


Decorated chapel over the shaft grave of the Egyptian priest and administrator Petosiris (flc. 320 bc), at Hermopolis Magna [anc. Egyp. Khmun; Arab. el-Ashmunein]. Petosiris held important sacerdotal and administrative posts related to the god Thoth at Hermopolis. His tomb (the T-shaped ground-plan of which anticipates the temples of Greco-Roman Egypt) is fronted by a horned altar (an early example in Egypt), characteristically erected off-axis. The interior of the pronaos (porch) is open to the air, with screen walls attached to the columns of its façade. The reliefs decorating the façade show Petosiris appropriating a royal prerogative by offering to the gods. The scenes of daily life, in bold painted relief adorning the interior walls of the pronaos, include depictions of costumes, coiffures and poses rarely encountered in the traditional repertory of Egyptian art. Forming a dado around the walls of the hypostyle hall is a lively file of atypically costumed and coiffured offering bearers, each elaborately encumbered with offerings. The religious reliefs above the dado, both in the hypostyle hall and the cult chamber, are still comparatively traditional and hieratic....

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W. Helck, E. Otto and W. Westendorff, eds: Lexikon der Ägyptologie (Wiesbaden, 1975–)