Egypt art, the collection of Hetepheres

Ancient Egyptian art

The collection of Queen Hetepheres has its importance in the history of Egypt art.

Egyptian art: The funerary bed

Ancient Egyptian art
The funerary bed of Queen Hetepheres

When the bed was discovered, it was upside down, with its legs pointing towards the ceiling and the headboard, but a panel of wood mounted on the end of the feet.

The head of the bed is slightly higher than the foot, giving the bed a gentle slope. At this end would have been placed the gilded and silvered headrest found inside the gold box.

It was used to put some kind of linen padding inside the curve of the headrest to be instead of a pillow. While at the foot end of the bed there is a wooden panel which is the only part of the bed that was decorated.

The side facing the bed is decorated with two bands:

The upper one contains a continuous feather motif, while the lower one shows three rosettes in addition to the feathers. On the contrary, the external surface was left as plain wood.

The armrests consist of a horizontal bar with a curved upper surface decorated with parallel incisions.

While the vertical support for the arms made of another wooden element is decorated in the front by a representation of a wooden mat.

The backrest of the chair would originally have been decorated with one of the many inlaid panels found in the funerary complex, perhaps one found below the sear depicting a woman holding a lotus flower to her nose.

The legs are gilded wood and are modeled in the form of lion’s paws as well as drums were added to the feet to keep it stable. The seat is made more comfortable by the slight inclination of the horizontal panel.

Art of Ancient Egypt: sedan chair

Art in Egypt
The sedan chair of Queen Hetepheres

It is known that sedan chairs were used in Egypt from the 1st dynasty, but the only example to have survived is that of Queen Hetepheres. This was the favorite means of transportation of Queen Hetepheres.

A sedan chair means the portable chair and it has four poles by which the chair can be carried, made out of wood and ended by palm capitals.

On the front side of the backrest, at the height of the armrest, an ebony strip is back side the same inscription appears but on three vertical ebony strips inscribed as follows in gold hieroglyphs:

Art of Egypt: The canopy

Egypt art
The canopy of Queen Hetepheres

It is made out of gilded wood and it was covered with a sheet of linen. This is the only item besides the canopy chest to bear the cartouches of King Senefru. While all the other items bear the cartouches of king Khufu.

Ancient Egypt art: the canopy chest

Art in ancient Egypt
The canopy chest of Queen Hetepheres

In front of the bed, we have a long box; it was also called the canopy holder as it is used to help the canopy of the queen which comprises several poles of wood.

When the canopy was discovered, the wooden poles of the container had practically all turned to dust, but the inlaid decoration had remained intact.

The long side bears an inscription divided into two mirror image parts by the figure of Nekhbet, the vulture goddess and it is also decorated with the cartouche of King Senefru.

Egypt art: casket with bracelets

Ancient Egyptian art
The bracelets of Queen Hetepheres

The internal and external surfaces of the casket are covered with horizontally incised gold leaf, with borders of a pattern imitating the weave of the straw mats.

The lid, fixed to the casket by means of hinges, is fitted with an ivory knob placed in the center.

On either side of the knob is a horizontal hieroglyphic inscription, reading on the left “box containing bracelets” and the right “mother of the kind of upper and lower Egypt Hetepheres”.

Below this second inscription, the word “Bracelets” has been added, traced in black ink by a scribe. The casket was carefully made to contain two rows of 10 bracelets (20 in total).

But unfortunately, we have now about only 16 bracelets made out of pure silver. These are arranged with 4 butterflies separated from each other by a small disc of red carnelian.

This seems to be the only jewelry item that had escaped the notice of the ancient tomb robbers.

Art in ancient Egypt: the fact about Sphinx

Art of ancient Egypt
The Sphinx of Queen Hetepheres

This is another sphinx inscribed with the name of King Khufu. It was found at Abusir and it was made out of a kind of stone called terracotta, the same material of the other two statues.

It represents a lion figure, most probably it belongs to Queen Hetepheres but it was inscribed with the cartouche of king Khufu which means that it was made for her during the reign of King Khufu, but unfortunately, it was partly destroyed.

Egypt art has different of aspects, among them the collection of Hetepheres.