The most famous painting of an Egyptian garden was found in the funerary chapel of Sennufer, above his burial chamber (Tomb No TT96 in the Western Valley). Today, the chapel is closed and the painting has been destroyed. Luckily, a careful copy was made in the nineteenth century. Newcomers to Egyptian art should take time to read the plan. It is not to scale and has buildings, shelters and trees drawn as though lying flat on the ground. The garden entrance is on the right of the plan. Visitors could arrive by boat. Outside the main entrance is a canal and a line of trees. The garden itself is surrounded by a high mud wall, capped with clay tiles (represented by hoops on the plan). A causeway leads to a gate lodge with a beautiful door. One passed through the lodge to a central vine-shaded courtyard, presumably for outdoor living. The master's house, shown with three rooms, sits on the far side of the courtyard. There are lines of palm trees on the other two sides. Four small garden pools can be seen with ducks and flowers in their midst. Two of the pools are overlooked by shelters with nearby clumps of lotus flowers, possibly in pots. In hot dusty conditions, under a brilliant sun, this is exactly the kind of garden a family would wish to have, then as now. Sennufer lived in the reign of Amenophis II and it is thought that his actual garden was near the Temple of Karnak in Easten Thebes.
Director of Antiquities, Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt