Inside the Tombs Both the pyramids and later tombs had several passageways leading to different rooms. This was to confuse grave robbers about which passage to take. Sometimes relatives, such as the queen, were buried in the extra rooms.
Tombs were supposed to be the palaces of pharaohs in the afterlife. Mourners filled the tomb with objects ranging from food to furniture that the mummified pharaoh would need. Some tombs contained small statues that were supposed to be servants for the dead person.
Egyptian artists decorated royal tombs with wall paintings and sculptures carved into the walls. Art was meant to glorify both the gods and the dead person. A sculpture of a dead pharaoh had “perfect” features, no matter how he really looked. Artists also followed strict rules about how to portray humans. Paintings showed a person’s head, arms, and legs from the side. They showed the front of the body from the neck down to the waist.
Wall paintings showed pharaohs enjoying themselves so they could have a happy afterlife. One favorite scene was of the pharaoh fishing in a papyrus marsh. Warlike kings were often portrayed in battle. Scenes might also show people providing for the needs of the dead person. Such activities included growing and preparing food, caring for animals, and building boats.
As hard as the pharaohs tried to hide themselves, robbers stole the treasures from almost every tomb. Only a secret tomb built for a New Kingdom pharaoh was ever found with much of its treasure untouched. The dazzling riches found in this tomb show how much wealth the pharaohs spent preparing for the afterlife.
Why did Khufu decide to build such a large pyramid?