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Fish and fishing in Old Kingdom tomb wall scenes: a comparative analysis of fish and fishing related scenes from the Memphite and provincial regions

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:47 authored by Michelle Keith
The aim of the present study is to examine all fish, fishing, and associated scenes within the art of Old Kingdom elite tombs. These associated scenes either have fish represented, depict equipment, or activities related to fish and fishing. The scenes included in this text are marsh scenes with a water band, fishing themes such as dragnetting, lave net fishing and spearfishing, as well as activities such as gutting, bearing and papyrus boat construction. A comparative analysis of these scenes has been conducted to fulfil three aims. The primary aim of this study is to identify standards within each individual theme and pinpoint the conception of these standards and any variations. The second, is to determine both the artistic movement of these themes within tomb art and to identify a cemetery which was the source of standardization and/or influence in the Old Kingdom. Finally, to identify instances of artistic influence between tombs at the same site, sites in close proximity, and across the Memphite and provincial regions. These aims are fulfilled by a comparative analysis of one hundred and sixty-five tombs and fragments, a total of over four hundred individual scenes. Based on this analysis, this study has been able to follow the development of sixteen individual themes through their minor details; identifying standards and variations. In addition, select details, which have been tabulated, may assist as dating criteria. It has also revealed the probable epicentre for artistic development and innovation. This study has highlighted incidents of influence between the tombs, identifying three dominate factors; the artist(s), political and administrative policies and familial or community ties.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Aims and methods -- 3. Fish -- 4. Dragnets -- 5. Angling -- 6. Lave nets -- 7. Funnel traps -- 8. Round basket traps -- 9. Weirs -- 10. Unique fishing scenes -- 11. Spearfishing -- 12. Registering the catch -- 13. Gutting and dehydration of fish -- 14. Market scenes -- 15. Fish bearing -- 16. Preparing fish for consumption -- 17. SPT SMḪ -- 18. Drying and storage -- 19. ḪSF NWT -- 20. Artistic influence and innovations part I: Memphite region -- 21. Artistic influence and innovation part II: the provinces -- 22. Concluding comments -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 375-404

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Naguib Kanawati


Copyright Michelle Keith 2017 Copyright disclaimer:




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