NileGuide Expert Says:
The Mastaba of Ti contains some of the most detailed and colourful reliefs from the Old Kingdom in the whole of Egypt; do not miss it!
North East of Serapeum, Saqqara
12561 Cairo, Egypt
tel: +20 2 285 4509 (Tourist information)
NileGuide Expert tip:
If you have come to Saqqara by car, have the car drop you off near the tomb and walk the 10 minutes from there. It is possible to ride a camel the short distance to the tomb if you don't feel like walking, but make sure you haggle hard!
Northwest of Zoser's funerary complex in Saqqara, near to the Serapeum and amongst a field of 3rd dynasty tombs, lies the Mastaba of Ti. Ti was an important court dignitary during the early 5th Dynasty, whose wife was of noble blood, and whose children were therefore recognised as being of royal descent. His main function was as one of the pharaoh's chief hairdressers, though he was also responsible for maintaining farming land and stock. The Mastaba of Ti was discovered in 1865 by Auguste Mariette, and has provided a wealth of information about life in the Old Kingdom. This large tomb consists of a main room with a shaft leading down to the burial chamber, and a passageway leading to two other rooms. Much of the Mastaba of Ti is covered with remarkably preserved, colourful reliefs of scenes from daily life, such as hunting and fishing, boat building and tannery. The reliefs have been used to infer much information about Old Kingdom times, though it's likely their true significance is allegorical, and related to ancient Egyptian belief systems and symbolism. It is possible to go down the shaft in the Mastaba of Ti to view the burial chamber: the shaft is cramped and you will need to bend over double, but it is very short. The burial chamber contains Ti's plain sarcophagus, though there is nothing else to see. Note that although you do not have to pay extra to visit the Mastaba of Ti, the caretakers will expect a little baksheesh for taking you down the shaft to the burial chamber.