Tomb of Ti
The well-preserved mastaba of Ti is located at the northern edge of the Saqqara necropolis, about 300m north of the ‘Philosopher’s Circle’. Ti held the titles of ‘Overseer of the Pyramids of Niuserre’, and ‘Overseer of the Sun-Temples of Sahure, Neferirkare and Niuserre’, making him a high-status official during Dynasty V.
The tomb was discovered by Auguste Mariette in 1865 and has since been restored and reconstructed by the Egyptian Antiquities Department, to become known as probably the most beautifully decorated Old Kingdom mastaba in the whole necropolis. The tomb not only has superb reliefs, but the variety of subjects also makes it very interesting.
As with other tombs dating to this period, the entrance was via a portico on the northern side. This leads into a huge columned courtyard with twelve square pillars and has a burial shaft (uninscribed) in the centre where Ti’s empty sarcophagus was found. Unfortunately little exists today of the courtyard decoration, but on the north-east corner there is an aperture into the first serdab (statue chamber). Reliefs remaining in the courtyard include Ti in agricultural scenes and scenes of daily life. At the south-west corner of the courtyard there is a false door stela of his son, Demedji.
A narrow decorated corridor leads to two rooms and a false door of Ti’s wife, Neferhetpes, who was a Priestess of Neith and Hathor, can be seen on the right-hand side of the passage. Further along on the right-hand side is a long narrow chamber which is decorated with colourful reliefs of food preparation, including cooking and brewing, and pottery production, as well as scribes recording the activities.
The second and larger of the two chambers, at the end of the corridor, is an offering hall, with a roof supported by two square pillars and has the most beautiful reliefs of the tomb. Above the door there are musicians and dancers while on the left-hand (east) wall the tomb owner watches agricultural activities and there are scenes of boat-building.
The southern wall has three restored apertures through which the serdab statue can be viewed. The serdab now holds a replica of the original life-sized statue (in Cairo Museum) – Ti would have communicated with the world of the living and witnessed his ritual offerings through these apertures. The wall between the spy-holes depicts scenes of Ti inspecting viticulture and bird-catching. There are also many interesting reliefs showing various industries, including carpentry, sculpture and metal-working.
The western wall has two false doors, one of which has an alabaster offering table in front of it. This stela of Ti is at the northern end of the wall has a double jamb depicting four standing images of the deceased.
The main portion of the northern wall of the offering hall is dominated by a beautiful relief of Ti standing on a papyrus boat presiding over a hippopotamus hunt. Papyrus stands erect behind the boat which floats on a swamp full of different types of fish, hippopotomi and a crocodile. Ti is depicted with a dwarf and pet and there are scenes of marshland industries such as gathering papyrus and fishing.
The mastaba of Ti is usually open to visitors. Photography is no longer allowed inside any of the tombs.