Tribute from the South, Lower Nubia (Wawat), Upper Nubia (Kush)

A relief of a tribute from the South from the tomb of Huy, the Viceroy of Kush, “King’s Son of Kush, Overseer of the Southern Countries”. A Viceroy is “the governor of a country or province who rules as the representative of a king or sovereign”. He rules over the foreign territories, for the sake of the crown, who has conquered and colonised the regions the Viceroy will control for the sake of the king. Huy, worked under the rule of king Tutankhamun.

The tomb of Huy, is located in the Theban Necropolis and is also known as tomb TT40, or sometimes Tomb of Amenhotep/Huy, as Amenhotep was Huy’s formal name, yet he goes by Huy.

Tutankhamun enthroned in a kiosk, overseeing the parade of southern tribute, Tomb of Huy.
Tutankhamun enthroned in a kiosk, overseeing the parade of southern tribute, Tomb of Huy.

Working in the 18th Dynasty under king Tutankhamun, tomb TT40, gives us a glimpse of the famous Boy King, as the attendee and centrepiece of a prestigious event of tribute. Something that we see with other kings, but rarely get a glimpse of with the young king.
Here within this tomb, we see Tutankhamun is enthroned receiving a vast parade of tribute from the elites of the southern regions, that Tutankhamun essentially reigns over as the colonial power.

The Prince of Kush himself, Heqanefer (who has an Egyptian name, & is titled with “child of the Kap (nursery)”, which makes one believe he was raised in the Egyptian Court. Heqanefer, is seemingly heavily devoted to Egypt, hence the abundance of tribute and dedication to the king of Egypt, Tutankhamun. Heqanefer is also seen presenting offerings alongside the “Chieftain of Wawat (Lower Nubia)”, and the Princess of Kush, who sadly only has her dress remaining within this scene.

Heqanefer, the Prince, is very Egyptianised in appearance and dress. The Princess of Kush is sadly no longer visible, only her dress remains, which is also very Egyptianised. The others, still maintain the distinguishable facial features of Upper Nubia and their unique cultural dress, including the famous feather headdress and red cap or painted hair.

All is overseen by the owner of the tomb and Viceroy of Kush himself, Huy. Huy, holds a large Ostrich feather, showing his status.

Huy, the Viceroy of Kush.

Nubia was the main source for Egypt’s abundance of Gold. Egypt took pride in dominating and colonising the region for centuries. Therefore, the then elite and rulers of Kush, who seemingly had Egyptian ties (Heqanefer) have brought masses of tribute to Egypt.

Tribute of bound captives, gold rings, cattle (cows) and other objects are brought to Egypt from the Southern regions. An Egyptian is seen controlling the chariot of the elite southerner.
Cattle and even a giraffe are seen paraded for the king of Egypt. You can also see animal furs, perhaps a skin of a leopard being brought too. Egyptian priests would often wear such furs, so this is clearly a thoughtful gift for Tutankhamun to receive.
These tribute bearers are wearing Egyptianised style linens, and are carrying animal furs and rings of gold. However, their traditional feathered headdresses and large hooped earring are present, and their facial features are the typical way that Egyptian’s depict those living south along the Nile. They carry large ostrich feathers with the furs of large cats, perhaps another thoughtful tribute, knowing what important iconography these things hold in Egyptian tradition. Seemingly, vessels and platters of food or grains are also being offered to Egypt as a gift.
The three men at the front kneel and raise their hands in praise for Tutankhamun.

Below are scenes of the boats arriving in Thebes. The boats carrying the tribute seen in the parade, including livestock, gold, and horses. Most notably are the human tribute, bound men sit upon the top of the boat, they are tied up and hands are shackled. They wear the traditional head ware of the southern Nubian men, often depicted in Egyptian art.

Such scenes, like the ones depicted below and above, showcase a sense of the everyday moments of Ancient Egypt, even at such grand events. The artist picks up little spontaneous behaviours to add a sense of humanity to a scene.

If you look closely, you can see a man dipping his hand into the Nile from the boat, men tying the ship to the dock, and a rather bored or contemplating looking fellow on the bottom register, sitting upon the case carrying the livestock.

“Coming from Kush with all the goodly tribute consisting of all the choicest and best of the southern lands. Landing at the Southern City (Thebes) by the Kings son of Kush, Huy”
A woman from Nubia with children.

This could be a lingering from the years of Akhenaten, where art took on a less formal stance. However, such realistic moments could be seen in Old Kingdom fishing and hunting scenes also. Regardless, such intricate detail is what makes this period of Egyptian art so glorious to gaze upon.


Photograph by kairoinfo4u