| Russian Academy of Sciences
Centre for Egyptological Studies, Moscow (CESRAS)
Russian Institute of Egyptology in Cairo (RIEC)
The Leather Funerary Baldachin of Asetemachbjt B
Cairo National Museum Inventory No. JE-26276
Details of construction
Intellectual property of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Egyptological Studies, Moscow, R.F.
(CESRAS).This original unpublished research material may be downloaded and used for scientific and/or
educational purposes only. It may not be published in any manner without formal permission of the Russian
Academy of Sciences. Further information may be obtained from email@example.com
The images presented in this section are posted here for research purposes. We assign the above named object of this continuing
research to the cultural heritage of humankind. It is the sole object of its type extant. Although being in its self unique, the precision of
its execution in common everyday materials is the work of masters of their trade in design and the precise hands of the craftsmen who
did the actual work. We see the sure hand of practiced professionals, of men who had not done this for the first time. This is the only
example of their craftsmanship which they have left us, the sole evidence of a refined craft practiced some 3000 years before our time.
That being, we present these original images of the sadly misused, abused, and largely unknown priceless treasure from an almost
forgotten point in time. The story of the baldachin's discovery is published in its original form elsewhere on this site and will not be
Until quite recent times, the Third Intermediate Period ca. 1070 - 712 (we count the 25th Dynasty, the first de facto foreign rulers, to the
Late Period) was not a subject of great interest to Egyptologists and with very few exceptions virtually unknown and/or of little interest
to others. Least interesting of all was what was known as the rule of the High Priests in 21st Dynasty Thebes. It is true that the
discovery of the "Royal Cache" Theban Tomb No. 320 (TT320 also known as (DB320) in 1881 was a universal sensation. The
mummies of Ramesses II "the Great", of Ahmose I, founder of the New Kingdom, and others of the godly blood of royalty were the
source and centre of interest. Little attention was given to the makers of the tomb or to the family dynasty of the High Priests of Amun
in whose some 125 unbroken years of rule in Upper Egypt the tomb came to be.
In 1997, Dr. Galina A. Belova, then head of the very poor and small Department of Egyptology in the Institute of Oriental Studies of the
Russian Academy of Sciences, embarked on creating a real Russian Egyptology with world standing. At that time I was commissioned
by the Academy to examine and create a database of Ancient Egyptian objects in the museums of the former Soviet Union. Dr. Belova
and I had come to know each other through the working group of the International Association of Egyptologists "Informatique et
Égyptologie". A close relationship with the old "Dept", as it was called, came to be and we combined forces to create a "real" ,
independent Centre for Egyptological Studies directly under the Presidium of the Academy and a Russian Institute of Egyptology in
Cairo. To realize this goal we had to organize and carry out a major archaeological project in Egypt.
My friend and colleague in Informatique et Égyptologie, Prof. Dr. Erhart Graefe, Director of the Institute for Egyptology and Coptology
in the University of Münster (Germany), a top archaeologist with more than 30 years of excavation in the Theban necropolis to his
name, joined us and offered us just what we needed, a Theban tomb to excavate. He could offer us two concessions: a Ramesside
tomb with wall paintings, and the empty, undecorated, tomb TT320 which had been the Cachette of the Royal Mummies, emptied by
Émile Brugsch in 1881. As we all know, there are lots of nice Ramesside tombs (in fact our conservation-restoration team is, at the time
of this writing, working in TT21). TT320, the empty onetime Royal Cache, was for me not empty and could never be empty. It was made
by a man named Paynedjem for his beloved niece-wife Nesychonsw who died before her time, and for himself when his time ended. It
was not a family tomb, but rather a monument to a deathless love. That was the basis. Later, in the 22nd Dynasty, it became simply a
hiding place for the desecrated remains of the once and powerful. There is a singular charisma which will dwell in this place, a hapax
charismatos, forever. It was for this that I chose it. The legend stands light years above nice paintings, be they ever so nice.
Professor Graefe, as Field Director, with our Russian-German team, re-excavated the tomb at considerable risk of life, some 11 metres
down a narrow shaft, through some 100 metres of collapsing, poor limestone. The project, started in 1998, ended in 2006 and resulted
in the founding of CESRAS and the Russian Institute of Egyptology in Cairo (RIEC). The causality of Paynedjem's acts showed its
power after three thousand years of sleep...al-hamdulwahid.
Due to advanced age and a respiratory condition I can not work in dusty places, so Egyptian field archaeology is "out". I thus became
interested in the Theban Dynasty of Payanch. I propose that this in future be referred to as the 21a Dynasty of Payanch pAyanx (or
Piankh, Pianch,Pitmu, or whatever else someone has/does name him). We have a list of weird spellings on this site to solve some early
orthographic adventures). I am intimately aware of the Piankh/Herihor matter with J-W, E.G. & K.K. all fine gentlemen known to me. I
am with Kitchen and Graefe without any question.
To be continued. erl/CESRAS/03 Feb, 2012