Senetites, Priestess of Het-Hert

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Senetites, with her husband Seneb and their two children

Senetites was a great lady of the court during the Old Kingdom. She lived during the end of the 4th Dynasty and beginning of the 5th Dynasty (1), and held the titles of "Hemet-Netjer Het-Hert" and "Hemet-Netjer Nit," as well as King's Acquaintance.  She is shown here in a famous group statue, affectionately encircling her husband Seneb with her arms. She wears a black wig over her natural hair, which is partially visible on her forehead. Seneb and Senetites' two children, a boy and a girl, are depicted standing in front of their father. Though a dwarf, her husband attained a very high position in the court, becoming chief of all the palace dwarfs in charge of the royal wardrobe. 

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Seneb receiving the reports of the scribes

Dwarfs in Kemet were entrusted with duties in the palace such as maintaining the wardrobe, caring for domestic animals, or providing amusement, in addition to some who worked as sculptors or jewelers. Outside of his duties at court, Seneb served in a priestly capacity in the funerary cults of both King Khufu and King Djedefra during the 4th Dynasty, and he possessed several thousand head of cattle.  He was given a fine mastaba at Giza. 

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Family scene with Senetites

In the scene above, Senetites sits with her children in a happy family scene.  The heiroglyphs spell out their names:  Senetites, King's Acquaintance, her elder daughter, Au-iben-Khufu (sitting behind her), the younger daughter, Semert-Djedefra (sitting in front), and her son, Ankhema-[Djedefra], handing her a lotus blossom.

 

(1)  Allam Schafik in his Beiträge zum Hathorkult   (Berlin, 1963, p. 16) states that she lived at the end of the 6th Dynasty, William Stevenson Smith in The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt (New Haven, c. 1998) lists her and her husband Seneb in the 4th-6th Dynasty, and Mohammed Saleh's The Egyptian Museum Cairo: Official Catalog  (Cairo, 1987, pl. 39) lists them as 4th or beginning of 5th Dynasty.

References for images

Statue group of Seneb, Senetites, and their two children, from Giza in the tomb of Seneb, 4th-5th Dynasty, now in the Cairo Museum, in Saleh's The Egyptian Museum Cairo: Official Catalog, pl. 39.
Seneb with scribes: detail from the false door of Seneb (right interior post), in Nadine Cherpion's "De Quand Date la Tombe du Nain Seneb?" BIFAO 84 (1984), pl. 10.
Senetites with family: detail from the false door of Seneb (right interior post), in Nadine Cherpion's "De Quand Date la Tombe du Nain Seneb?" BIFAO 84 (1984), pl. 5.

Bibliography

Cherpion, Nadine, "De Quand Date la Tombe du Nain Seneb?" BIFAO 84 (1984), pl. 5.

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