Nebamun enjoying life and beauty at its finest. It dates back to the late 18th dynasty, which is around 1350 BC. Pictured next to him are his wife Hatshepsut and their young daughter. This particular picture was found in the tomb of Nebamun, among the rest of the traditional tomb-chapel decoration. I believe a metaphor that can be used to organize and interpret the image is that Nebamun is the breath of life over the land.
The image is broken almost evenly in half by the large figure of Nebamun. The majority of the left side of the image is filled with different birds. There is a single bird with similar coloring to Nebamun that is the only one actually standing on the front of the boat he is on. Other than the two being hunted by a yellow-orange colored cat, the rest of the birds continue to appear flying right to left across the painting. Each bird is unique in its coloring and details. Below the boat and the birds is the Nile River, filled with all different kinds of fish. Lotus flowers also fill the marsh. If you look carefully, you can see several plain tiger butterflies flying among the birds, all of which were commonly found in the marshes of Ancient Egypt. As Nebamun stands tall and strong on the boat, his daughter is sitting directly under him with his wife, standing to his left on the right-most side of the picture that we have. The surrounding areas around his wife, Hatshepsut, is filled with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that translate to, “ejoying himself and seeing beauty”. The overall color scheme of the painting seems to stick to a lot of blues, whites and a variety of oranges that range from orange-yellow to red-orange.
The word “breath” insinuates a certain kind of horizontal movement that we are all familiar with, and the overall movement in the image goes from right to left. By no mistake, this is the same direction Nebamun is facing because he is the most important aspect in the image. Egyptians portrayed a hierarchy of importance by the size of the character in the image. Therefore, he is by far the largest figure in the painting as well as the most important aspect. The animals that are pictured are all those that are often found living in the marsh, such as all the different birds and fish who all have different features in the image. The variety and details in all of the different fish and birds can be seen as a representation of all the different people who worshiped and obeyed him.
They’re also facing the same direction as Nebamun, which helps to…