Tomb of Khonsu (TT31)
Khonsu (also called To) was a priest of the cult of Tuthmose III with the title ‘First Prophet of Menkheperre’, during the reign of Rameses II. His tomb can be found in the village area of Sheikh ‘Abd el-Qurna. The tomb has many lovely paintings depicting the cult of the god Montu as well as that of Tuthmose III.
Two offering stelae were set up against the wall at either side of the entrance to Khonsu’s tomb and the tomb consists of a wide transverse hall leading to a passage and niched shrine at the rear. In the entrance the deceased, with his family, worship Re and there are paintings of birds on the ceiling.
On the left-hand side of the entrance there are scenes detailing the Festival of Montu, with some of Khonsu’s relatives (Usermontu, a Vizier and a Prophet of Montu called Huy) making offerings to Montu’s barque in a procession of boats. Khonsu can be seen offering to the barque of Tuthmose III in a kiosk. The barque of Montu arrives at Armant (the modern name of the god’s cult centre) and is carried to the temple by priests, accompanied by dignitaries. The Montu Temple at Armant was built by Tuthmose III and part of a pillar of the temple can be seen. On the bottom registers the usual funerary scenes show women making offerings of incense and libations to the deceased tomb owner and rites before his mother Tawosret and wife May and other relatives.
On the right-hand side of the hall, there is a judgement scene with the weighing of the heart and portraying Khonsu, his wife and Usermontu led by Harsiesi to Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. A pyramid tomb is depicted in the bottom register and priests are offering incense to mummies in the funeral rites. The Feast of Tuthmose III is shown on the end wall with a procession of the royal barque in front of the temple being received by priests and priestesses of Montu. Below, herdsmen and shepherds with dogs bring cows and goats from the estate of Tuthmose IV to be inspected by the deceased and his family. On the western wall Khonsu and his wife stand before Osiris and Anubis.
The passage has beautifully decorated ceilings. In the entrance is a grape arbour and in the passage itself are geometric textile designs and naturalistic paintings of ducks, fledgling birds, nests and locusts. There is little decoration to be seen in the passage, but the niche of the shrine at the rear of the tomb has interesting scenes showing the deceased offering to various deities. On the left Khonsu in his priestly garments offers a bouquet of Amun-Re to the Dynasty XI king Mentuhotep Nebhepetre (whose temple can be seen at Deir el-Bahri). On the rear wall he offers to Osiris and Anubis and on the right he offers to Hathor as ‘Goddess of the West’.
The tomb of Khonsu is open from 6.00am to 4.00pm in winter. Tickets for the three tombs of Khonsu, Userhet and Benia can be bought at the ticket office.