May's tomb no 338 at
Deir el-Medina
The page was last modified on December 19th 2017
1. Rice, Michael: Who is who in Ancient Egypt
London : Routledge, 2002.
2. Čern‎ý, J. Egyptian Stelae in the Bankes Collection.
Oxford, 1958.
3. Goyon, Jean Claude and Cardin, Christine: Proceedings of the 9th International Congress
of Egyptologists, Vol. 1
Peeters Publishers, 2007. 2031 p.
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The wall paintings from May's tomb were
detached from the walls and removed to Turin.
Chapel of May
From Deir el-Medina / Chapel of May (TT 338)
Dimension: 185 x 145 x 225 cm
Clay and painted stucco
The original paintings are on display in the
Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, in the Room
Inventory NB: S. 7910 RCGE 45711
The owner of the tomb number 338 was called May. He was a painter employed at the Theban
Necropolis and living at Deir el-Medina during the 18th dynasty, around 1300 BC. His title was the
"outline draughtsman of Amun" (Rice,105-106). His tomb is situated in the Western Necropolis at Deir
el-Medina near the tomb of the architect Kha (
TT8) and is numbered TT 338.
Stela of draughtsman May
From Deir el-Medina
End of the 18th, beginning of the 19th
Height: 30 cm
Width: 21 cm
The stela would have come from a niche
in May's chapel, where it would have
been placed on a stone pedestal
(according to Bernard Bruyère). When
Deir el-Medina was excavated during the
last century, these chapels were partly
or completely gone as they were built
above the ground and made of mud bricks.
The stela is on display at
Kingston Lacy,
Dorset, England, in the Billiards Room
Bankes stela no. 1.
Stela of May
From Deir el-Medina / Chapel of May (TT 338)
End of the 18th, beginning of the 19th dynasty
This round-topped stela is divided into 3
registers. In the top register May and his wife
stand in adoration in front of Osiris and
Hathor, both seated on their thrones. In the
lower registers the couple sit on chairs in front
of an offering table. Their daughter stands
next to them. A procession consisting of their
family members approach them with their
offerings: 3 men in the middle register and 4
men and 2 women in the bottom register.
Dimensions: 66,7 x 42 x 7,3 cm
The stela is on display in the Egyptian Museum
in Turin, Italy, in the Room III
Inventory no. Cat. 1579 RCGE 46595
Photo by Hans Ollermann 2010
© Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizio di Torino
Photo by Hans Ollermann 2010
© Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizio di Torino
Photo by Hans Ollermann 2010
© Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizio di Torino
Photography © Andy Peacock 2007
Photo by Lenka Peacock 2011
© The National Trust, UK
This is a round topped stela of a two fold division. In the lunette - the spatial region in the upper portion
of the stela - the solar barque is carrying a solar disk above the sky, represented by the hieroglyphic
pt (sky). A child with a thumb in his mouth sits on the right side of the barque.
The lower register of the stela consists of an image of a man standing at the bottom of the right side of
the stela. He is facing to his right. His arms are lifted in adoration pose. Above and in front of the
figure there are 10 columns of hieroglyphic inscription. The columns are written from top to bottom and
read from left to right.  

The text consists of a hymn to the setting sun:
"Praise to Re when he sets in life in the western horizon of heaven. You have appeared in the western
half as Atum who is in the evening, having come in your might, having no adversaries and having taken
possession of the sky as Re. You appear and shine upon the back of your mother, having appeared (as) king
of Divine Ennead. I have done right in your presence, and kiss the ground (for?) your crew, worshipping
(whilst) you travel the heaven, your heart glad. The Island of Flame has become peaceful, your enemies
are fallen and are no more. The evil dragon's abode is doomed. Your corpse is Atum in the Boat of the
Morning, the rightful one of the Two Lands. Beautiful is the Boat of the Evening when is has accomplished
its end. (Said) by the draughtsman May, true of voice."

This type of stela is called a lucarne stela. Altogether there have been identified 13 lucarne stelae
originating from Deir el-Medina. This stela is an early example of its type as the owner is depicted
standing rather than kneeling in adoration. Only 1 other stela -
Turin 50043 - shares this feature, all
other 11 stelae depict the owner kneeling. Lucarne stelae share the following characteristics:
- a solar barque shown in the lunette, usually placed above the
pt sign
- a sun disk or another sun god representation is depicted in the solar barque
- sun god is accompanied by other symbols relating to him (adoring baboons, wedjat eyes)
- the owner either stands or kneels in adoration of the barque
- although the owner's relatives can be depicted, it is seldom a case
- the hymn, written in columns, praises the rising and/or setting sun
Lucarne stelae were manufactured from late 18th dynasty until the 20th dynasty. They measure between
30 to 55 cm (Goyon,2007,1953-1954).
To view and browse the digitised version of The Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic
Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings, (also known as Porter & Moss or TopBib) for this tomb, go to
Material for the Bibliography is gathered from an ever-expanding range of multi-lingual sources,
encompassing both specialist and semi-popular Egyptological and Near Eastern publications, periodicals,
museum guides, exhibition and auction catalogues, together with the growing wealth of web resources. The
Bibliography also analyses a range of unpublished manuscripts, including those housed in the Griffith
Institute Archive. Published in May 2014 by the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford, the volumes are
constantly revised and augmented.