The Mastabas of Qar and Idu G 7101 and 7102 - Digitally Revised and Enhanced Edition

Part I - Qar G 7101

Section 2 - Approach Stairways (A-B)
Feb 24, 2019

Approach Stairways in relation with area north of G7110-7120; Qar(G7101) and Idu (G7102) (click to enlarge)

Approach Stairways (pls. II-V; figs. 15-19)  

The superstructure, to the extent that there may have been one, has been destroyed. As noted above, the chapel complex of Qar as it remains consists of a court in the substructure (C) open to the sky, the walls capped by a cornice, with an interior chamber to its south (D), off which open the two chambers to the west (E) and the east (F). The court is entered from the surface (ground level) by a flight of steps descending from north to south with ten steps (A 1) to a landing (A 2) and a second flight of stairs (B 1) with another nine steps at right angles to this descending from the landing (A 2) to a lower landing at its base (B 2). See pls. II—III. The court is entered through a doorway on the south side of this second landing (pls. II b., IV c.).

Pl. II b. Qar, looking north. b. Court C in foreground, upper stairs top left

Pl. IV c. Qar, relief in situ, south wall of corridor above doorway to Court C

  Click to locate

Upper stairway (A 1), east wall, reconstruction. (Click to enlarge)

No relief remains in place on either wall of the upper stairs, but it seems likely that one should assign an unplaced block (MFA 27.1130; 25-5-6, 47) to one of these walls. Qar is represented holding aloft a throwstick with his right hand and facing to the right. He wears a short curled wig with a fillet with long streamers, a short beard, and a broad collar (pl. V a; figs. 15, 18 b).

Pl. V a. Qar, relief assigned to upper stairs. 25-5-47, 6; MFA 27.1130 (top), Figure 18. b. Qar (G 7101) Block assigned to upper stairway, east wall. 25-5-47 MFA 27.1130 (bottom) (Click to enlarge)

Of three horizontal lines of text, reading from right to left, only the ends remain and the top line is cut so that only the lower portion remains: (1) [ẖry] tp [nswt] imꜢḫw [ḫ]r nṯr, (2) ... ... ... ... [n]fr, (3) ... ... ... ... [ḲꜢ]r. “(1) he who is at the head of the king, well provided before the [great] god, (2)… … … … [Meryre-ne]fer, (3) … … [Qa]r.” Following the figure of Qar is one of Idu, also facing right, with a throwstick held horizontally in his right hand and three birds in his left. He wears a longer wig, short beard, broad collar, bracelets, and a short skirt. There are two horizontal lines of text above the figure followed by the vertical name, Idu: (1) sš ['] nswt [ḫ]f[t] [ḥr], (2) sꜢb ỉmy-r sšw imꜢhw, (3) Idw, “(1) king’s letter scribe in the presence, (2) the sꜢb-official, overseer of the scribes, the well provided, (3) Idu.” To this fowling scene may be also added a second block (25-5-57), present location unknown, with a vertical text [Ꜣ]pd, “birds,” on the left, and a horizontal text ỉmy-r wḥꜥw, “overseer of fowlers,” on the right (pl. V c.).

Pl. V c. Qar, relief, stairs (?), 25-5-57, Boston

In the reconstruction of fig. 15 the scene is placed on the east wall of the upper stairs, so that the figures face downstairs toward the chapel, although a placement on the opposite west wall would have the figures facing the visitor as he descended toward the chapel. Perhaps the latter is to be preferred.

Landing (A 2) Click to locate

At the first landing the stairs turn from the north-south direction to a west-east direction. It may be possible to assign an unplaced block (.82 x 1.20 m.) to the short west wall at the base of the first set and the top of the second set of steps. This is the well preserved block (MFA 27.1134; 25-5-44) showing Qar seated in a high back chair facing left toward a table of offerings (pl. IV a; fig. 18 a).

Pl. IV a. Qar, relief assigned to west wall of corridor, middle landing of stairs. 25-5-44; MFA 27.1134 (top), Figure 18. a. Qar (G 7101) Block assigned to middle landing 25-5-47 MFA 27.1134 (Bottom) (Click to enlarge)  

Above the scene are two horizontal lines of text reading from left to right: (1) Ḫnty-š Mry-Rꜥ- mn-nfr [Ḳ]ꜣr, (2) imy-r ẖnw ẖry tp nswt Mry-Rꜥ-nfr; “(1) tenant farmer of Meryre-mennefer, [Q]ar, (2) overseer of the Residence, he who is at the head of the king, Meryre-nefer.” Qar sits facing left in a chair with high back, his left hand resting on the high arm of the chair and his right hand touching the offerings heaped upon the table before him. He wears a tight fitting cap wig, broad collar, and bracelets with alternate bands of beads. The workmanship of the face is of the highest quality. The red of the body is well preserved, and elements of color also remain in the hieroglyphs and the objects on the offering table. The rough surface on the left of the relief suggests that it belongs to a corner, as in the proposed placement of the block.  

  Click to locate

Lower stairs (B 1), north wall, reconstruction. (Click to enlarge)

On the north wall of the lower stairs, the left hand side as one descends, parts of two scenes are still in place. In the right corner at the foot of the steps is the lower part of the seated figure of the tomb owner on a high backed chair facing left toward the visitor (fig. 16).  

In front of him is a series of low blocks with fish, a hippopotamus, and a crocodile, indicating an aquatic scene above. To this scene can be assigned the block (pl. V b; fig. 19 d) with a man carrying a large fish, facing right, and the traces of the left hand of the tomb owner holding the end of a long harpoon (25-5-45, Boston); 30 x 80cm.  

Pl. V b. Qar, relief assigned to lower stairs, north wall. 23-5-45, Boston (top), Figure 19 d. Block assigned to lower stairways, north wall. 25-5-45, Boston (bottom) (Click to enlarge)  

The harpooning scene can be reconstructed on the basis of parallels, of which a good example is that from the tomb of Nekhebu (G 2381), Boston MFA 13-3432.  

W. S. Smith, “The Judge goes Fishing,” BMFA 56 (1958) 59; Junker, Giza IV, fig. 8. A fragment which can be assigned to the scene (25-5-18) was noted by Timothy Kendall; it shows the chest, broad collar, and nipple of the same figure, with the harpoon passing diagonally just above and touching the nipple. Hence the reconstructed drawing in fig. 16 should be revised in this respect and restored on a larger scale.


The fish bearer is described as sn(?).f Nḫti, “his brother(?), Nakhti.”  

G 7101, Qar, court C, W wall, S portion, relief (offering table scene), looking W

Pl. IX a. Qar, Court C, west wall, relief block in situ

Pl. XXXIV c.Block found north of pyramid 1 a (24-12-135), Nakhti, perhaps Qar’s brother

This Nakhti may well be the individual buried in G 7101 B, a burial arrangement similar to that of Qar himself in G 7101 M, as well as the individual designated as overseer of ka-priests on the west wall of Court C (pl. IX a; fig. 25), as well as the owner of the block found near subsidiary pyramid I a (pl. XXXIV c; fig. 9 a).


Two or three other blocks may be assigned to the scene. Although they were sketched in the object register, their present location is unknown and there are no photographs or tracings. In the first (25-5-16) a cat approaches from the right to rob a bird’s nest; in the second (25-5-8) a larger cat climbs from the left on a papyrus stalk. The third fragment represents papyrus stalks and leaves (25-5-15). See fig. 16.

  Click to locate

Lower stairs (B 1), south and east walls, reconstruction. (Click to enlarge)

On the south wall of the lower stairs, the right side as one descends, only a single block is in place. This consists of the representation of the seated owner before an offering table, facing right toward the descending visitor, and is placed at the lower end of the wall above the doorway with its drum to the court (C). Only the lower part of the scene is preserved (pl. IV c; fig. 17). 

Pl. IV c. Qar, relief in situ, south wall of corridor above doorway to Court C  

The owner is seated on a chair with a low cushion and lion’s feet legs.  

Chairs in Dyn. 6 representations frequently have lions’ feet for the earlier bulls’ feet.


Below the offerings on the table are, on the right of the stand, a ewer in a basin on a stand, and to the left, a sealed jar on its own stand. Three unplaced blocks have been assigned to this wall (pls. V f, g; figs. 17, 19 a, b).  

Pl. V. f. Qar, relief assigned to lower stairs, south wall, right end. 25-5-46, Boston (top), Figure 19. b. Qar (G 7101) Block assigned to lower stairway, south wall. 25-5-46, Boston (bottom) (Click to enlarge)  

Pl. V. g. Qar, relief assigned to lower stairs, south wall. 25-5-48, Boston (top), Figure 19. a. Qar (G 7101) Block assigned to lower stairway, south wall. 25-5-48, Boston (bottom) (Click to enlarge)  

The first of these is the block (25-5-46, Boston) with the feet of a large standing figure facing left resting on a staff. He wears sandals, and the right foot rests on the left. To the rear the column of text ends in Idw, “Idu.”  

If the figure is that of Qar, presumably the Idu mentioned was represented behind him in a section now missing.


Two adjoining blocks of the lower register (25-5-48, Boston) are provisionally assigned to the same scene and may represent the offerings which the leaning figure is viewing. The blocks consist of a file of cattle facing right (pl. V g; figs. 17, 19 a). The first bearer holds a fowl and leads a blanketed calf by a rope. There follows a large cow feeding from a bowl on a stand. Behind the cow another bearer leads three bulls. If these blocks are properly placed, the scene can be reconstructed as a scene with the owner leaning on his staff viewing the produce of his estates.  

For a good example of a traditional viewing scene of this type, see Wild. Le tombeau de Ti, Fasc. 3, La chapelle, pls. 164-169. (here and here)


 Stairway, lower landing (B 2) Click to locate

Pl. IV b. Qar, relief in situ, east wall of corridor, lower landing of stairs

The north and south walls of the lower stair have been described above. There remains the fragmentary block in place on the short east wall, opposite the descending visitor (pl. IV b; fig. 17), which consists of the lower part of a standing figure of Qar wearing sandals and carrying two staves in his right hand. He faces to the right toward the doorway to the court. In front of him are two vessels on a stand; he touches the nearer one with his outstretched left hand; the second vessel has a handle from the rim to the side and a second handle on the side. Above the vessels is the text, Imꜣḫw [Ḳ]Ꜣr, “the well provided one, Qar.”

Miscellaneous blocks, stairway area (?)

Four fitting blocks from Qar form a scene with boats (pls. V d, e; fig. 19 c). 

Pl. V. d. Qar, relief block, stairs (?); 25-5-59  

Pl. V. e. Qar, relief of boatmen, stairs (?). 25-5-5; MFA 27.1129  

Figure 19. c. Qar (G 7101). Set of four blocks from boat scene, two unnumbered, 25-5-59, and 25-5-5 (MFA 27.1129) (Click to enlarge)

The first three are long horizontal blocks with a total length of 1.70 m. From right to left they are: (1) block marked 7105, Boston, 18 x 53 x 29 cm.; (2) block marked 7101, Boston, 17 x 54 x 23.5 cm.; (3) block 25-5-59, not in Boston, 17x61 cm. The fourth block, in five fragments, represents rowers in a boat and measures 38 x 52 cm. (25-5-5; MFA 27.1129). It is joined to the scene in the drawing, as this seems a likely fit. As reconstructed the top right shows part of the upper yard of a boat and diagonal ropes of the boat rigging. To the left is the text: iw ḥst r Ḳꜣr ; di.t(i) n[.f] t wꜥb…, “Praises are to(?) Qar; one gives to him the pure bread ... .” To the left are a pair of forked stanchions bearing the upper yard with the loop attachment for the halyard, the lower yard, and the mast.  

The pair of forked stanchions bearing the mast and the upper and lower yards of the sail with the loop attachment for fastening the halyard are illustrated in Björn Landström, Ships of the Pharaohs, p. 60, fig. 180; pp. 49-51, figs. 137, 139, 143, 144 (; Boreux, Études de nautique égyptienne p. 363, fig. 139 b, p. 367, fig. 143; and Prentice Duell (ed.), The Mastaba of Mereruka, Vol. 2, pl. 145.


To the left of this is the phrase: sḳdwt, “sailing.” The fourth fragment shows the base of the aft stanchion, part of five oarsmen and their oars, and part of the body of the boat.

Another set of blocks appears to represent a curious massing of sunshades, presumably with the missing bearers below, but possibly stacked, and it is difficult to determine their context and assignment to the other existing scenes (figs. 19 e-g).

Figure 19. e-g. Qar (G 7101). Blocks with sunshades, Boston (Click to enlarge)

The blocks include 25-5-32 (17 x 17 x 12 cm.); a second marked 7125 (25 x 22 x 14 cm.); and the large third block, marked 7101 (26 x 80 x 21 cm.). The poles extend into the center of the rectangular cloth to join the cross-pieces, and the flap is regularly shown as if pleated or with a long fringe.  

The types of sunshades and their construction are discussed by Fischer, “Sunshades of the Marketplace,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 6 (1972), 151-156. 


In two of the blocks the sunshades are placed above one another, the largest block showing portions of three shades and the fringe of a fourth. The two smaller blocks illustrated apparently have a border on the left.  

Stairway, summary

As tentatively reconstructed, the upper stairway had on one of its walls a representation of Qar with a throwstick in a fowling scene attended by [his son] Idu bearing three birds and holding a throwstick also. The opposite wall may have had the boat scene. The north wall of the lower stairway had a scene of Qar in a harpooning scene with a border of fish and attended by a brother(?) named Nakhti holding a large fish. In the scenes Qar would have been standing in a light skiff. On the south wall of the lower stairway Qar, followed by Idu as suggested by the text, leans on a staff and views the procession of cattle. At the lower end of both walls Qar is shown at a table facing west. The surface corresponding to the width of the steps on the middle landing shows Qar seated before offerings (A 2) and on the lower landing standing with staves before a stand with two jars (B 2).

The blocks not in situ can only tentatively be assigned to the positions suggested. Alternatively they may belong to the now destroyed superstructure.

Photos from the Archive

Block of limestone relief from G 7101, Qar, 25-5-47 (= MFA 27.1130)

Fragments of relief top row [street G 7300] 25-1-958; middle row [G 7101] 25-5-57, bottom row [G 7101] 25-5-59

Pl. V. f. Qar, relief assigned to lower stairs, south wall, right end. 25-5-46 ; Boston

Several fitting fragments of block of limestone relief from G 7101, Qar 25-5-44 (= MFA 27.1134)

0 comment(s)

Leave a comment(We'll keep your email address private)

Want to stay in the loop and hear first-hand about digital EPIGRAPHY's latest articles and future plans?