Harvesting and processing of grapes

A succession of scenes linked to grape harvesting and processing extends to the right of the papyrus grove. Again, this is not a profane subject, because wine (red) is associated with the blood of the god Osiris, who was murdered and dismembered by his brother Seth. Furthermore, wine promotes inebriation, and thus love and sexuality.
The first two sub-registers are two miniature superimposed sub-registers depicting wine farmers harvesting ripe grapes. In wicker baskets, purple clusters are crowded. The two sub-scenes are heavily damaged, yet they are still easily identifiable.

Now we must go on to the third scenario, which depicts the treading of grapes. This occurs in a huge vat, where the guys will most likely crush the clusters for a long time. A decorative beam is supported on either side by columns with open floral capitols. Floral branches hang from this beam, far beyond the reach of the guys, on which some of them cling, implying that they are acting as support ropes. The scene depicts arduous and difficult job, which is usually reserved for persons of low social position, as evidenced by their attire and the expressions of idiocy on their faces; it’s true that the wine’s vapours wouldn’t help.

The scene between the two just described follows next in the actual order of events. Two men bring little jugs of either the finished wine or the fluid from the vat. These are most likely dumped into one of the three rows of significantly larger jars. The man in the back definitely has one on his shoulder, but the one that was probably being emptied has been lost due to damage. Above, a writer kneels, charmingly shown, taking meticulous notes on everything, including the number of baskets brought from the harvest and ready for the press. It would be important to ensure that the quantity of grapes received and the actual quantity of wine made did not contradict.

The little and badly damaged picture on the right completes the sequence of grape picking and pressing, followed by accounting. Userhat pays respect to an unnamed snake deity in this video. The goddess’s cobra neck, as well as the solar disc and two feathers from her headpiece, may still be seen. This could be Renenutet, the goddess of the harvest, although she hasn’t been associated with wine before; indeed, the deity of the wine press is Chesmou, but he normally has a lion’s head and is rarely depicted in tombs.

Finally, a minor scene of fishing with a drag net can be found in the narrow piece at the extreme right of the bottom register, behind the serpent goddess, an area that is very badly damaged and practically unidentifiable.

Object Details

Harvesting and processing of grapes

New Kingdom

Dynasty 18, Reigns of Amenhotep II

1427 to 1401 BC

Egypt, Luxor, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna

Tomb of Userhat, TT56