Boats into the Underworld
Tomb of Thutmoses III, Valley of the Kings
Thutmoses III was the son of Hapshetsut, one of the few woman Pharaohs, who named herself supreme ruler due to her son’s youth at the death of his father. When Thutmoses III angrily took back his rule (it remains speculative whether he had a hand in his mother’s death…) he went on to create the biggest Empire Egypt has ever seen. These drawings are taken from the walls of his tomb and are particularly interesting as they appear unfinished, left in the initial stages of black and red before colour and detail were added. It is intriguing to view the pencilling-in that lies beneath the bright colours of the hieroglyphics and pictures that usually cover the walls of the Ancient Egyptian tombs, viewing their decorative method in its early stages. Here we see the depths of the Egyptian underworld, mapped out in rivers that the dead would sale through to reach Osiris (god of the underworld) who would judge their life to see if they could join him. They sailed in a boat shaped like the crescent moon, mirroring the journey the moon makes through the dark each night, the dead King centred in the boat under a shrine. The God Horus (symbolising protection) stands behind lifting his arm for security, his face taking the shape of a hawk. The snakes and three-headed monsters represent the beasts and trials one would have to face on the journey to Osiris, which the ‘Book of the Dead’ would dictate how to pass.