National Geographic : 1941 Oct
An Egyptian Nomarch Entertains a Bedawin Sheikh ALTHOUGH the Egyptians always regarded as barbarians, the dwellers in the deserts to the east and west of the Nile and the Asiatic tribes farther to the north, they carried on a lively commerce with these peoples. More often than not during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, the trade was conducted on an entirely friendly basis. It is therefore not surprising to find the "Prince, the Con fidential Friend of the King, the Great Chief of the Hare Nome", Thuity-1hotpe, extending the hospitality of his ver andah to a desert prince and his family-little knowing that within a few hundred years these same people, the "Hyksos", were to invade and to subject to their warlike rule the whole of northern Egypt. The Hyksos Abshai-for that is the sheikh's name-has just delivered a shipment of galena, used by the Egyptians as an eye cosmetic, to Prince Khnum-hotpe, ruler of the Oryx Nome, whose domain was situated in Middle Egypt, immediately to the north of that of Thfity-hotpe. On his way home he has stopped to pay a state call on the latter. For the amusement of his guest Tlhfity-hotpe has staged a series of wrestling matches such as those depicted in detail in the famous wrestling sequence found at Beni Hasan (pages 424 and 425). These contests of skill and strength will be followed by some acrobatic dancing, performed bythe girls seen standing on the left ofthecrowd inthecourtyard. Next to the nomarch sitshis wife, Hathor-hotpe, arrayed in her best and holding a rotating fanofcolored matting. Thity-hotpe, himself, wearing thedistinctive robe and pectoral of a vizier, toys with anivory handled flywhisk. The Bedawin, whose gaudy woolen mantles and crude possessions contrast sharply with therefined attire and accessories of their hosts, seem enthralled with thesimple spectacle. Their enthusiasmisshared bytheEgyptians in the courtyard, among whom areanumber oflocal celeb rities-notably the tall, scrawny herdsman, well known to students of ancient Egypt as"the thin man ofMir". The painted tombs of the great XIIth Dynasty lords of Middle Egypt at Mir, DeirelBarsha, and Beni Hasan esh Shurfiq, are veritable treasure houses ofinformation forstu dents of life in the MiddleKingdom. Most familiar to travelers are those at BeniHasan, famed fortheso-called "proto-Doric" columns of their rock-cut facades. Though these columns, the shafts oftwo ofwhich appear in our painting, superficially resemble theGreek Doric column, there is no real basis fortheassociation, some 1300 years separating these from,for example, theParthenon.