The Mastaba of Ti was discovered by Auguste Mariette in 1865. This grand and detailed private tomb is not only Old Kingdom art at its best but also one of our main sources of knowledge about life in Old Kingdom Egypt. Its owner, Ti, was overseer of the Abu Sir pyramids and sun temples (among other things) during the 5th dynasty. In fact, the superb quality of his tomb is in keeping with his nickname, Ti the Rich.
A life-size statue of the deceased stands in the tomb’s offering hall (the original is in Cairo's Egyptian Museum). Ti’s wife, Neferhetpes, was priestess and ‘royal acquaintance’. Together with their two sons, Demedj (overseer of the duck pond) and Ti (inspector of royal manicurists), the couple appears throughout the tomb alongside detailed scenes of daily life. As men and women are seen working on the land, preparing food, fishing, building boats, dancing, trading and avoiding crocodiles, their images are accompanied by chattering hieroglyphic dialogue, all no doubt familiar to Ti during his career as a royal overseer: ‘Hurry up, the herdsman’s coming’, ‘Don’t make so much noise!’, ‘Pay up – it’s cheap!’.