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Headrest in Three Parts Inscribed for Khet

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

The standard Egyptian headrest—the equivalent of the modern pillow—consisted of a curved neck support atop a pillar on an oblong base. When a head rested on a support, the combination of round and curved forms resembled the morning sun rising between two peaks, also the hieroglyph for "horizon." Thus the sleeping Egyptian was connected to the sunrise, a potent symbol of resurrection. Some modern Africans, particularly in Mali and Kenya, still sleep on headrests identical in design to ancient Egyptian examples.

  • Place Excavated: Dimai, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1818-1700 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late XII Dynasty-early XIII Dynasty
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 9 x 9 3/8 x 4 7/16 in. (22.8 x 23.8 x 11.2 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Headrest in Three Parts Inscribed for Khet, ca. 1818-1700 B.C.E. Wood, 9 x 9 3/8 x 4 7/16 in. (22.8 x 23.8 x 11.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 14.650. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.14.650_erg2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 11/26/2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden headrest in three parts with octagonal pillar inscribed in two columns with name and titles of Ht (Khet). Condition: One side of base has large gap; pillar badly split, rest chipped at one end. The headrest seems to be a re-used piece as the surfaces now containing inscriptions have very obviously been cut down, presumably to efface an earlier inscription.
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