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ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROBLEMS OF MODERN EGYPTOLOGY
Proceedings of the International Conference held in Moscow on September 29-October 2, 2009
Edited by Galina A. Belova
Digital photographic addenda to the paper THEY WERE NOT YELLOW, 21st (21a) Dynasty
Theban Coffins from the "Royal Cache" TT320 (also known as DB320)
Edward R. Loring
Due to financial limitations it was not possible to include colour images of great importance to this detailed
scientific investigation of the painted anthropoid coffins of the Dynasty of the High Priest of Amun (HPA)
Payanch (pAyanx, Piankh) in the printed volume of the proceedings. The Dynasty of Payanch was a true family
dynasty with power passing from father to son, or brother to brother with rule over Upper Egypt between ca.
1070 and 945 BCE. In spite of close and important blood relationships with the 21st Dynasty kings in Tanis,
such an unbroken direct family succession there is questionable. Thus, we propose that henceforth the
Theban line be termed Dynasty 21a.
Following are the images listed in the Proceedings, pp. 214-15, giving proof of original white background. All
of these objects and scenes are on public display in the National Museum, Cairo, where they offer
unquestionable proof of the claims made here. Click on images for larger versions.
p.214, Figure 1, CAI-CG61027, HPA Masaharta, outer coffin, foot left.
Foot of Osiris; end of sash cleaned
The clear draughtsman's lines on white gesso are
absolute proof of an originally white surface. Note
roughly applied varnish
The scene before
varnishing was bright,
colourful, and on a white
p.214 Figure 2, CAI-CG61032, Tayuheret, supposed wife of HPA Masaharta. Her coffins are usurped. The names of the original
owner, the lady Hatet are, but for one, crudely overpainted with various careless orthographies of the new owner's name
A clear example of an originally white
background very carelessly varnished. The
spaces between the wing feathers are very
frequently white, as the feathers were
somewhat raised and the crude varnish brush
did not penetrate to these lower lying areas.
The spaces between the feathers of the winged
serpents clearly show a white
White is shown in the outline
of the scarab (the damaged
area at lower left where the
encrusted leg is broken is a
different proof of white
p. 214, figure 3, CAI CG61028, God's Wife of Amun Maatkaraw, daughter of HPA & King Paynedjem I and Queen Henwttawy
Typical example of white remaining between feathers where the
crude varnish brush did not penetrate. At right middle the original
colours, showing a menat almost hidden by the varnish. The yellow
varnish, or yellowing through age, has caused the original blue to
become dark green or black. This is the case on all varnished coffins
of the period.
Original, unprocessed image, showing
the discolouraration of the white
background through age and by dirt.
The original white background is so clear that any comment is unnecessary.
An important place to detect original white can be seen at
the lower left of the Djed-Osiris mantle. Draughtsnens'
clean red on white are always sure proof.
Artist's partial reconstruction of scene before varnishing,
darkening and aging for 3000 years. ERL/CESRAS/06.07
p. 214-115 Neskhons (Nesychonsw), Cairo CG61030, daughter of HPA Smendes II & niece-wife of HPA Paynedjem II. She died
unexpectedly in the 5th year of the Tanite King Siamun (974 BCE). TT320 was made by Paynedjem (who died five years later) as a
tomb for her and himself only, not as a family tomb as often wrongly stated in egyptological literature.
Figure 4: A typical net dress is shown here. The draughtsman's red lines, as we have seen above, are always
secure proof of drawing and painting on a white gesso background. It is informative to note the portion of a wig at
upper right. The blue pigment was inorganic blue faience powder mixed with an unknown binder,
probably gummi arabicum, and by its generally viscous nature formed raised areas where applied (wigs, feathers,
dresses, hieroglyphs etc. The surfaces of this often unstable material were frequently broken off, exposing the
original colour. In all cases studied in this project it became clear that once bright blue areas have mutated to dark
green or black, giving modern viewers an entirely false impression of how the paintings looked when fresh and
Subsequent to the Moscow conference, I have added the exampls above. The image shows several things which we have
observed above: red draughtsman's lines on white and fractured surfaces of blue painting turned green by reaction with
varnish. The ankh symbol is always blue (frequently used hieroglyphic signs have traditional colours). Here we see it in the
same green as a damaged feather at lower left, showing its original blue; proof that the ankh and scarab were also blue.
As green is a mixture of yellow and blue, original green is not mutated as shown by the end of a ram's horn touching the
ankh symbol. The innermost (generally five) feathers of an upper wing register are generally green, faintly depicted here.
For those of you who are interested in classical details of Ancient Egyptian design and graphic, we have here a fine example
of the complete layout of an often repeated, but seldom complete detail: the junction of a wing to a central figure, in this case
a scarab. The ankh symbol and basket above the wing are to be discounted. The junction of the wing is with the upper left leg
of the scarab, both originally blue. Below this is a field of finely drawn lines, forming a network of squares, in this case
punctuated with blue dots. To the left of this field are three vertical blue lines crossed by thin red lines and ending in a broad
red field from which blue feathers protrude. The innermost feathers are green, crossed by the blue middle leg of the scarab.
The two levels of feathers are separated by carefully drawn red lines. Before varnishing the stripe between these lines was