Found in the tomb of Rameses III by James Bruce, this drawing depicts two harpists playing very elaborately decorated harps. Despite the way the Egyptian musicians are placed in the drawing, they most likely were positioned in different parts of a hall, facing their particular divinity – as determined by the decorations on each instrument. Scholars also believe that the white robes and bodily positions indicate that the musicians were priests of the highest order.
This black and white drawing of the pair appeared in 1891 work A Popular History of the Art of Music From the Earliest Times Until the Present. No illustrator or engraver was identified.
With the old software I was using for Reusable Art, that would have been the end of the story. But, now that I’m using a much more flexible program, I can share with you multiple versions of images together in the same post. Instead of being limited to the rough engraving from an 1891 book, we can also see this truly beautiful work as James Bruce first saw it…in all it’s golden glory.
The colorized version of Bruce’s Harpers is from the Egyptologist John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875). Some called Wilkinson the “father of British Egyptology.” It was published in 1837 in his own work Manners and customs of the ancient Egyptians .
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.