Beni Hassan

Beni Hassan.jpg

Name of a locality on the east bank of the Nile, roughly 23 kilometres north of Minya. The place is named after an Arabic tribe living there. The most important monuments are thirty-nine rock tombs, mainly dating from the 11th and 12th Dynasties; a few tombs date from the 6th Dynasty. Among the tombs are many belonging to the nomarchs of the nome in question, the oryx nome, twelve of which are decorated. Because of the poor quality of the stone, a layer of plaster was first applied and the wall paintings painted on that. One well-known scene shows thirty-seven Asiatics bearing black eye paint. This has been linked with the entry of the Children of Israel into Egypt, the more so because one of the Asiatic men is called Ibsha, a name which also appears in the Bible. Other wall paintings show hunting in the desert, sports and games, detailed animal life, as well as the usual scenes. In the slope in front of the rock tombs are hundreds of more simple tombs, mainly from the Middle Kingdom. Many decorated sarcophagi and tomb models have been found in them. In the vicinity is a rock temple dating from the New Kingdom, dedicated to the lion goddess Pakhet; close by is a cemetery of cat mummies. Further, there are other tombs dating from almost every period, except the New Kingdom.