Egypt: The Private Tomb of Khonsu on the West Bank at Luxor

The Private Tomb of Khonsu on the West Bank at Luxor

by Jimmy Dunn

Khonsu, who was also called To, lived during the reign of Ramesses II in the 19th Dynasty when he was a priest of Tuthmosis III's cult. He held the title, "First Prophet of Menkheperre Tuthmosis III".

Khonsu's private tomb is located in the area of the Tomb of the Nobles on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) in the Sheikh Abd el-Qurna district. Along with depictions of scenes with Tuthmosis III, there are also some good paintings relative to the god, Montu within his tomb, numbered TT31.

Birds from the rear chamber of the tomb

The entrance to his tomb through an open courtyard is flanked by two stele. The tomb itself consists of a wide transverse hall that leads to an wide passage into first one long chamber, and then a second chamber with a niche at the back where a shrine may be found.

The the entrance itself we find a scene depicting the deceased and his family worshiping Re. On the ceiling are paintings of birds. Once inside the transverse hall, or vestibule, on the left of the entrance there is a scene detailing the Festival of Montu with some of Khonsu's relatives (including his brother, Usermontu, a Vizier and Prophet of Montu called Huy) making offerings to Montu's barque in a procession of boats. This scene carries around to the next short wall at the left end of the vestibule, with a scene of Khonsu making offerings to the barque of Tuthmosis III inside a kiosk.

Boat on the like of the Temple of Monu

Priests Carrying the barque of Monu

On the rear left wall of the vestibule we find that the barque of Montu arrives at Armant (the modern name of the god's cult center named by the Greeks, Hermonthis) were it is carried to the temple by priests, who are accompanied by dignitaries. The Montu Temple at Armant was built by Tuthmose III and part of a pillar of the temple can be seen. On the bottom registers the usual funerary scenes show women making offerings of incense and libations to Khonsu and other relatives.

Priests offer incense during the funerary procession

On the architrave above the opening to the rear section of the tomb in the vestibule is a scene of offerings of incense that are made to Osiris, Hathor and Re-Harakhty, while on the right rear wall we find the deceased and his family before Osiris and Anubis, the jackal god. On the right, short wall of the transverse hall is a scene depicting the Feast of Tuthmosis III with his royal boat before his temple. The boat is received by priests and priestesses of the temple, and we also see herdsmen with their gods offering cows and goats provided by Tuthmosis III to the deceased and his family. There is also a scene of two people on their knees, praying under a group of trees.

On the front right wall of the vestibule we find several more scenes beginning with the weighing of the soul of the deceased against the father of Ma'at. This is followed by the deceased his wife and the vizier Usermontu, brought by Harsiesis for trial by Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. At the bottom we find a funeral procession, followed by priests who offer incense to the mummy. A representation of a tomb and chapel of Deir el-Medina, the worker's village on the west bank bank is also portrayed, which is a detail that provides us with important look at the original construct of a Deir el-Medina pyramidal tomb.

The deceased before Osiris and Anubis at the back of the niche of the rear chamber

Little decorations exist in the long halls behind the vestibule, but between the first and second hall, on the ceiling we find a decorations depicting grapes, while on the ceiling of the last hall there are geometric designs is a naturalistic depiction of ducks, fledgling birds, nests and three locusts. At the back of the tomb in a niche we find a number of small scenes. On the left wall of this niche is a scene of Khonsu (not visible) in priestly dress, offering Papyrus and lotus to Nebhepetre Mentuhotep (11th Dynasty). Mentuhotep wears the white crown of Upper Egypt and grips a scepter. On the back wall of the niche is another scene, again with the deceased in priestly dressmaking offerings to Osiris and Anubis. Finally, on the right wall of the niche is a scene depicting Khonsu once again dressed as a priest making offerings to the goddess Hathor-Imentit.






Reference Number

Complete Valley of the Kings, The (Tombs and Treasures of Egypt's Greatest Pharaohs)

Reeves, Nicholas; Wilkinson, Richard H.


Thames and Hudson Ltd

IBSN 0-500-05080-5

Guide to the Valley of the Kings

Siliotti, Alberto


Barnes & Noble Books

ISBN 0-7607-0483-x

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian


Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2