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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

102                           Egyptian Art
is in its range of scenes. Three elegant figures, clad in folds of
dazzling white, and decked with flowers and jewels, are seated
on magnificent thrones. The inscriptions show them to be the
high priest of a royal cult, his wife, and his mother. But for
this information, we could hardly guess that the figures denoted
two generations, for all three are young and beautiful, as images
must be which are to serve as eternal homes for disembodied
spirits. The scene is framed by a great sycamore fig-tree, its
branches laden with ripe fruit at which birds are pecking. A
goddess offers to the denizens of this world beyond the grave
a streamlet of cool water which flows with wonderful neatness
through the foliage so as to empty itself into the golden vessels
held by the departed. The priest Userhet stretches out his free
hand towards a dish which the goddess is offering him, full of
fruit and cakes, and surmounted by a dainty nosegay.
The unreality of the whole scene finally becomes apparent
when one notices the little souls, like birds with human heads,
which flutter around and perch themselves to drink at the
edge of a pool, over which the goddess seems to keep watch.
The picture has suffered a few mutilations, but they do not
prevent one from appreciating all the freshness, the skill in
execution, and even, may one say, the joie de vivre which the
Egyptian hoped to carry with him into the grave. A scene like
this, once its full meaning has made itself felt, can never be
forgotten. It takes its place with the great masterpieces of
pictorial art.
 xiii. At the Tomb of Ramose
It is only in the last few years that excavators, thanks to the
generosity of Sir Robert Mond, have completely uncovered the
tomb of Ramose, who was governor of Upper Egypt at the close
of the reign of Amenhotep III, and who witnessed the revolu-
tion under his successor, Amenhotep IV.
On the great expanses of the walls of the principal chamber