Ramses III and the Seated Scribe in the Louvre

After twelve densely packed rooms of the thematic tour of ancient Egypt, a long staircase (or an elevator for people with restricted mobility) leads down to room 13, where a huge royal tomb is on display. It is the red granite tomb of pharaoh Ramses III, who ruled Egypt from 1186–1155 BC. The room is also identified as the crypt of the god Osiris. (Fans of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute might recall the name Osiris from the haunting prayer sung by Sarastro and the chorus near the beginning of the second act.)

Like the Sphinx in room 1, the royal tomb of Ramses III is in the basement because of its weight. The museum curators at the Louvre prefer to have the extremely heavy objects resting directly on the ground, rather than on a higher floor where their weight might endanger the stability of the building. Another reason is that at ground level over these rooms there are pedestrian entrances to the courtyard.

Drawings and hieroglyphics

These are some of the drawings and hieroglyphics on the tomb of Ramses III. The top row of drawings shows some violent scenes. In the bottom row at the left it might be a man plowing a field.

The Seated Scribe

Probably the most famous statue in the Egyptian collection of the Louvre is this one of The Seated Scribe, in room 22 on the first floor.

The audio guide explained that the scribes at that time were very important and influential officials, sometimes even relatives of the pharaoh. This scribe has an unusually realistic looking face, especially the eyes. In his right hand he was holding a brush which has since been lost. He has a well-fed appearance, which was a sign of wealth and power.

Another scribe

For comparison, here is another — much less realistic and expressive — scribe from a thematic exhibition on writing techniques in ancient Egypt. This is in room 6 on the ground floor of the Sully Wing of the Louvre.

Young woman and man

These two are in room 24. They are identified as Sény or Sénynéfer, bureau chief of the pharaoh, and his wife.

Thoutmosis IV

Another statue in room 24 is this one of the pharaoh Thoutmosis IV, who ruled Egypt from around 1401 to 1391 BC.

Colonnade of the Louvre

This is the colonnade on the east wall of the Louvre. The archway in the center, behind the traffic light, is usually open and leads to the inner courtyard (Cour Carée) of the Sully Wing.

Underneath the archway in the basement is room 13, with the royal tomb of Ramses III. All the rooms below and behind the colonnade on the ground floor and the first floor are devoted to Egyptian antiquities.

The colonnade at night

Location and aerial view of the Louvre on monumentum.fr.

My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2021.

Next: Musée Charles X in the Louvre.
See more posts on the Louvre in Paris.

12 thoughts on “Ramses III and the Seated Scribe in the Louvre”

  1. I don’t think the man is plowing. Pictures of a man plowing do exist and you can clearly see the plow. At first I thought he was sowing seed. But the man in that drawing looks like he and another person are standing on a snake (or a snake boat). I don’t know what the five strokes between the two people represent. A WAG would be that the snake represents the Nile and the five strokes are the months between sowing and harvest

      1. The one in Cairo is identical right down to the blood shot eyes. Isn’t that interesting. One of them has to be a copy if not a loan.

    1. No, I’ve never seen the original mask of Tutankhamun, even though the streets of Frankfurt were plastered with placards of it during the “Treasures of Tutankhamun” touring exhibition, which I think must have been in the late 1970s or early 80s.

I appreciate your feedback!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.