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

Part II - Idu G 7102

Section 3.2 - Offering Chamber - North Wall
Feb 10, 2019

North Wall of the Offering Chamber in relation with area north of G7110-7120; Qar(G7101) and Idu (G7102) (click to enlarge)

The north wall presents a thematic unity and has been frequently discussed and illustrated (pls. XVIII-XX; fig. 35). 

References in Porter and Moss, Top. Biblio. III, 2nd ed., Part I, 185-186, to which may be added Settgast, Unters. zu altägyptischen Bestattungsdarstellungen; Kantor, in AJA 61 (1957) 46-47.


Pl. XVIII a. Idu, north wall complete (left), Figure 35. Idu (G 7102). North wall, above and at sides of entrance (right) (Click to enlarge)

Pl. XIX a. Idu, north wall, panels right of entrance, top

Pl. XIX b. Idu, north wall, panels right of entrance, bottom, and east wall to right

Pl. XX a. Idu, north wall, panels left of entrance, top

Pl. XX b. Idu, north wall, panels left of entrance, center

Pl. XX c. Idu, north wall, panels left of entrance, bottom

The theme of the burial has also been discussed at length by Wilson, but without reference to this representation.  The scene is probably to be read beginning with the section to the right (east) of the doorway, continuing with the representation of the oxen dragging the funeral sledge above the doorway, and concluding, from top to bottom, with the panels on the left (west) of the doorway with the bringing of the sarcophagus to the wꜥbt-embalming house, which is shown on the opposite side of the entrance, the representation of the purification tent, the water-transport of a shrine to the purification tent, and the final carrying of the sarcophagus westward to the tomb.

JNES 3 (1944) 201-218.


A full discussion of this scene in its many ramifications is not attempted here. Many details and parallels have been discussed by Lüddeckens, Wilson, Grdseloff, H. Müller, Settgast, and others. 

References in Porter and Moss, op. cit., and preceding and following notes.


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East (right) of entrance (orthomosaic by Luke Hollis, XIX; fig. 35 - detail). (Click to enlarge)

Six registers set the scene of the death of Idu and the lamentation of the mourners on this occasion. 

For the lamentations, see Lüddeckens, MDIK II (1943) 2, 16-17.


1. The lowest register consists of a doorway, possibly that of Idu’s dwelling. It is not clearly defined or detailed and lacks any accompanying text.

2. Above the last is a scene of six mourning women, facing left, the first and third collapsed on the ground, the second tearing her hair, two others leaning forward, and the last with raised arms. The color is largely gone, but the women are dressed as in the register above. The caption above the scene reads: prt in mrt.f ḥr rmt, “coming forth by his meret-serfs weeping.”  It may be noted that one of Idu’s main titles is imy-r sš mrt.

Luddeckens, MDIK II (1943) 2; Settgast, op. cit., 7.


3. In the register above the latter five mourning women are shown facing left, the first four standing, the fifth sitting. The first and last have a hand to their heads, and the center three have their arms linked about their companion’s shoulders, with the first of the group of three facing right toward her companions. They wear long white dresses with shoulder straps. The text reads: i nb.i n mrwt, “oh my beloved lord,” a lament addressed to their departed master.” 

Lüddeckens, MDIK II (1943) 16.


4. Above these registers of female mourners is the first of two registers of male mourners. Five men are shown grieving. The first two face each other, clasping hands. The first has a hand to his head, and the second has an arm linked over his companion’s shoulder. The third has collapsed on the ground and is being assisted by the fourth. The fifth also has a hand to his head. The text reads: i nb.i iṯ n.k w(i), “oh my lord, take me to you.”  The men wear wigs and short white skirts.

Lüddeckens, MDIK II (1943) 17.


5. Group of five male mourners, similarly dressed, in various attitudes of grief, three standing and tearing their hair and two falling with a hand to the head. The text reads: i it.(i) n mrwt, “oh my beloved father.”

6. At the top of the wall surface is the representation of a large doorway with several recessed panels on the sides and a kheker frieze above, and a portico with a single column with a capital of papyrus blossoms tied below. 

The column was probably of wood.


The lower part of the column shaft is enclosed in a small rectangle which may indicate a court. On the basis of parallels the structure has been identified by Rieke and others as the wꜥbt-embalming house, toward which(?) the men in the panel on the opposite side of the entrance bring the coffin; Drioton suggests that the building is the wꜥbt, based on its similarity to the plan of the same in the tomb of Qar. 

ASAE 40 (1940) 1011-1012.


These six registers as a whole, the two doorways and the four scenes of lamenting mourners, would seem to be set in Idu’s home and the wꜥbt-embalming house, if the structure at the top is to be so identified. 

Parallels in Lüddeckens, op cit., and Wilson, op. cit.


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Tympanum above entrance (orthomosaic by Luke Hollis, XIX; fig. 35 - detail). (Click to enlarge)

Pl. XVIII. b. Idu, north wall, top (tympanum, detail)

The scene above the doorway consists of the representation of the dragging of the sarcophagus sledge by oxen. On the left is a heap of miscellaneous food and drink offerings with painted details toward which the procession is directed to the left. Two long-horned oxen pull the sledge by a rope. Immediately behind them are six standing men facing left, pulling or assisting and a seventh man facing right and bending down to pour liquid from a jar to lubricate the passage of the sledge. 

Newberry, El Bersheh, Part I, pl. 15

A liquid is similarly poured beneath the sledge bearing the statue of Djehutyhotpe at el Bersheh: Newberry, El Bersheh, Part I, pl. 15, p. 20. Newberry suggests that the liquid is water and that the act is mainly ceremonial. The rite of pouring water in front of a sledge is captioned stt mwin Macramulla, Le mastaba d’ldout, pl. 9.


On the sledge is a light canopy with recurved roof and poles in front, in the middle, and at the back, containing the red sarcophagus. A set of eyes is painted on the sarcophagus, and it is raised on a special stand or cradle also shown thus in the tomb of Qar (fig. 24). 

There is a parallel in the tomb of Nebkauhor illustrated by Wilson, in JNES 3 (1944) pl. 16.


The label over the sarcophagus reads: imꜣḫw, “the well-provided one.” The procession is followed by a single man with short skirt and sash and bookroll in left hand, and labelled: ẖry ḥꜣbt, “lector priest.” The horizontal text above the procession is damaged and partly illegible. The sections that can be made out are indicated in the drawing, and may read in part: ir n Inpw smꜣ-tꜣ ḳrs [......] imntyt di smyt ꜥ.wy.s ir.k šd r Idw. 

The wall is illustrated in Smith, Hist. of Egyptian Sculpture, fig. 84 b. The text at the top is difficult to read on the wall and might be improved. For ir n Inpw smꜣ tꜣ, see parallel in the tomb of Qar (pl. VIII; fig. 24) and the text in Macramulla, Le mastaba d’ldout, pl. 8.

Pl. VIII. a, b, c, Qar, Court C, north wall with Qar seated before offerings (above) and procession with sarcophagus (below) (Click to explore Fig. 24)

  Click to locate

West (left) of entrance (orthomosaic by Luke Hollis, XIX; fig. 35 - detail). (Click to enlarge)

Five panels, reading probably from top to bottom, comprise a continuation of the burial service for Idu.

1. Three men facing right carry the sarcophagus on poles; the middle man is shown behind the sarcophagus. The chest represents a wooden coffin; it is shown proportionately shorter than the representation on the sledge above the door. The text reads: sḏꜣt rwꜥbt r wtyw, “proceeding to the embalming place to the embalmers.” Settgast has shown that the normal chain of events sets the procession to the purification tent (ibw) before that to the embalming place (wꜥbt).  In this case we have either to read the panels in the opposite order, that is from bottom to top, or to assume that the order is inverted.

Settgast, op. cit.,15-16.


2. Two registers of food and drink offerings which may belong with the register below with the ibw representation. The offerings may be considered to lie on the roof of the ibw structure and form a single scene with it.

3. A representation of the T-shaped ibw-structure, purification tent, with a doorway at either end and ramps or causeways leading at a diagonal toward a canal. 

A. Badawy, A History of Egyptian Architecture, Vol. I, 65-68.


There is also a wide “vertical” element leading into the canal with indentations on either side. The subject of the purification tent and wꜥbt-embalming house has been discussed on the basis of the occurrences in tombs of Dynasty VI from the time of Teti to Pepy II, the tombs of Mereruka, Ankhmahor at Sakkara, Qar and Idu at Giza, and two scenes in the tomb of Pepyankh at Meir. 

H. Ricke, Bemerkungen zur ägyptische Baukunst des alten Reiches II, 92-98; For discussions, see Grdseloff, Das ägyptische Reinigungszelt; Barguet, in RdE 24 (1972) 7-11; Settgast, op. cit.,9-15; Altenmüller, “Bestattungsritual,” in Lexikon I, 5: 745-765; Altenmüller, in Jaarbericht Ex Oriente Lux 22 (1971-1972) 307-317.


Attention has also been drawn to the similarity of the Idu representation of the ibw, structure to the valley temple of Pepy II at Sakkara South. 

E. Brovarski, in a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, at Chicago, November, 1973.


4. A scene of the transport of a shrine by boat, with the label: sḏꜣt r ḏꜣḏꜣ (tp) ibw, “proceeding to the roof of the purification structure.” The shrine, with open(?) door, is vertical and suits the shape of a standing statue or the mummy in an upright position, the latter probably unlikely. It is placed in a wooden structure with recurved roof and faces left on the boat. In front of the structure and holding onto the vertical pole is a man labelled: wt, “embalmer,” followed by a woman in long dress with shoulder straps and streamer attached to a fillet in her hair labelled: ḏrt, “kite.” A similar woman is shown to the rear of the structure with the same label and is followed by a seated man behind whom is a steering oar.

5. The lowest register essentially repeats the topmost in the opposite direction, with three men bearing the sarcophagus to the left (west). The label reads: ih mk šms imꜣḫw, “Lo, behold the progress of the well-provided one.”

The suggested order of the scenes is naturally tentative and subject to revision. A strict sequence cannot be expected, although Wilson describes the more developed scene in Mereruka as “a continuous cinematic movement from the left of the wall to the right,” with the starting point as the house of the living and the terminal point as Mereruka’s tomb at Sakkara. 

JNES 3 (1944) 201.


A selection has evidently been made from the various episodes, as the parallels from other tombs indicate.  Perhaps the best order is achieved by reading the right wall, bottom to top, the left wall, bottom to top, and last the tympanum.

Kantor, AJA 61 (1957) 46-47.


Photo from the Archive

G 7102, Idu, chapel, N wall, registers of relief around entrance, upper part of wall, looking N

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