Djehutinefer was a royal scribe and treasurer
under Amenhotep II. He lived and was buried at Thebes, where drawings of
his townhouse were found. According to the depiction of its outside it was
narrow and tall with a wide entrance. The walls were painted blue.
He had a second tomb made for himself where a kind of a cross section of
his house was shown.
house seems to have been three storeys high - Egyptians sometimes drew
horizontal as vertical space (things spatially side by side were depicted
as being one above the other, cf. the two servants occupied with
bread-making - bottom right). It was very spacious compared to the houses
of common people.
Not every one had as grandiose a habitation as
Djehutinefer or even his own living space neatly separated from that of
his neighbour. Ownership of land and rights of access in towns were often
shared among a number of people and were sometimes unclear, leading to
tensions among neighbours. The drawing up of an owner's rights could
prevent future court cases.
The ground floor is given over to the servants, spinners spinning and
three weavers working at two vertical looms. Further to the right another
servant is grinding corn and someone probably sifting the flour, an
important task as little pieces of rock frequently were part of the flour.
The second floor is the living area of the family. In the main hall, the qa'a,
the master of the house sits on a chair placed on a dais. Servants bring
refreshments and flowers. There are four small windows close to the
ceiling, more for ventilation than lighting.
On the third floor there is a kind of office. Again the master sits on his
raised chair. A servant cools him with a fan and chases flies away.
Another offers him a drink. Scribes squat in attendance.
On the roof there are grain stores. The food is mostly prepared and cooked
up here and has to be carried downstairs.
The ceilings of all the rooms are supported by wooden pillars with three
different capitals, simple and unadorned in the servants' quarters and
more elaborate upstairs.
You may go up (to) and down (from) the
roof on the stairway of this aforesaid house and you may go in and out
(of the front hallway by means of the) main doorway of said house and
its house path which goes from the south to the street and (you) may
make any alteration on it (with your workmen) and your materials in
proportion to your aforesaid one-eighteenth share from today onward
From a bill of sale dated to the middle of
the third cent. BCE,
Oriental Institute, U. of Chicago