Horemheb was a top-ranking official during the reign of Tutankhamun. Together with a small group of colleagues he wielded the actual power. He was a general, bearing the title of ‘deputy of the king’. Horemheb had already started the construction of his tomb when he became Pharaoh around 1320 B.C. Being Pharaoh entitled him to a royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. The old tomb in Saqqara, built during his time as a general, was discovered by art collectors at the beginning of the 19th century, but was forgotten about again. In 1975 it was rediscovered by an excavation team of the British Egypt Exploration Society and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.
The pictures on the limestone tomb walls, executed in sunk relief, show highlights from Horemheb’s career, before he became Pharaoh. His military exploits are elaborately and vividly portrayed in bright colours.
The story climaxes with Horemheb being rewarded in the presence of the Pharaoh and his wife. Hung with gold tokens of honour, the general lifts up his arms. He is dressed in a wide see-through shirt with pleats and a skirt with a flaring apron. He is wearing a ceremonial wig with a cone of perfumed ointment on top. On his forehead he is wearing the royal attribute of the uraeus serpent, added to the relief after the general had become Pharaoh.