Flight of Horace, illustration, Uncategorized

Song of the Harper (Remix)

Song of the Harper (Remix)

Song of the Harper (Remix) – by Mohammed Shamma – India and acrylic ink on paper – October 10, 2016

Have you ever loved a song or poem so much that you wanted to be buried with it.  The Song of the Harper was exactly that for ancient Egyptians.  I have to admit, I was moved by it when I read the version that was written on Inerkhau’s tomb at Deir el-Medineh.

The waters flow north, the wind blows south,
and each man goes to his hour.
So, seize the day! Hold holiday!
Be unwearied, unceasing, alive,
you and your own true love;
Let not your heart be troubled
during your sojourn on earth,
but seize the day as it passes!

When I read that passage (full text available here) I immediately wanted to incorporate it into an illustration with a contemporary twist.  I decided to change up the subject first.  I’m a fan of standing poses, so I chose one of the musicians from Amenemhat’s Tomb.

الخوخه el-Khôkha

(Flickr photo by risotto al caviale) الخوخه el-Khôkha

I also wanted to incorporate the original hieroglyphs from the wall of Inherkhau’s tomb as seen below.  Unfortunately the song lyrics in the photo (on the left) are incomplete.

Tomb of Inherkau TT359 Pano

(Flickr photo by kairoinfo4u) Tomb of Inherkau TT359

The site OsirisNet.net (thanks to everyone listed here) has a very detailed description of the tomb along with panorama photos of the inside of the tomb.  The site also provides a transcribed copy of the text from Bernard Bruyere the French Egyptologist who published the first excavation of the site in 1927.

Now that I had the original text and English translation, I could begin work on finding the text corresponding to the English version above.  Full disclosure here, my wife is a trained Egyptologist, so I was able to get her help in isolating the correct text.

Once I had the text, it was a simple matter of layout.  I chose to place the hieroglyphs on the outside columns of the illustration and then add my own “remix” of the text (just as I did the musician) around him.

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Flight of Horace

I’ve recently redesigned this page the give it a more Egyptian “Book of the Dead” look and feel and less like that of a comic book.  Some of these elements include the landscape format, text and page framing with bold black lines and text panels that have one side open onto the subject.

FOH_p1

Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

“Memory – it is the lifeblood of our fables and the progenitor of our conscience.  Was it born somewhere deep within the stars? Is it innate like the winged migration of birds or rhythmic like the fog covering the city at the day’s end? Where does memory go to die?”

Horace is narrating these words while seated in a typical scribe pose (as seen in the Tomb of Ti in Saqqara).  The stars on the left show the Orion constellation embedded into the commonly found star pattern on the ceilings of Egyptian tombs.  I drew the flying duck from the hunting scene on the walls of the Tomb of Nakht.  The fog clouds were based on various spiral patterns often scene in tombs of Tell el AmarnaTheban tombs and Saqqara

Memory is the Lifeblood of our Fables

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Flight of Horace

FOH - I lay in the water

Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

I lay in the water self defeated.  My only onlookers were a few fish nibbling at my threads.

Horace’s pose (floating) is based on E. Prisse d’Avennes drawing of Ramesses II’s Battle Against the Hittites on the Banks of the Orontes (Thebes, Ramesseum, 19th Dynasty) – Atlast of Egyptian Art, American University in Cairo Press, 1997

The fish are based on the Nile fish found in the tomb of Nebamun.

I Lay in the Water Self Defeated

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Flight of Horace

Eduring like the fog covering the city

Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

Egyptian water pattern as seen in the tomb of Sennedjem.  Fog inspired by various spiral patterns often scene in tombs of Tell el AmarnaTheban tombs and Saqqara

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Flight of Horace

Innate like the winged migration of birds

Creative Commons License
Flight of Horace by Mohammed Shamma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at flightofhorace.com.

Flying duck taken from the hunting scene on the walls of the Tomb of Nakht

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