Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mirror of the Chief of the Southern Tens Reniseneb

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12–13
ca. 1810–1700 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, pit tomb CC 25, burial of Reniseneb, on chest of mummy, Carnarvon/Carter excavations, 1910
Unalloyed copper, gold, ebony
H. 22.3 cm (8 3/4 in.); W. 11.3 cm (4 7/16 in.); D. 2.5 cm (1 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
This mirror, its handle in the form of a papyrus plant, is inscribed with the name of Reniseneb who had a judicial title translated as "Great One of the Southern Tens." Reniseneb's coffin was discovered in 1910 during excavations by Howard Carter and his patron, Lord Carnarvon. It was at the bottom of the shaft of a pit tomb (CC25). Although the two chambers off this shaft had been robbed, the coffin and mummy of Reniseneb were untouched by thieves. Unfortunately, dampness had caused severe damage to both. This mirror was found in the wrappings over the chest of the mummy. A necklace (26.7.1349) and a shen amulet (26.7.1347) were found at the neck, and a small hippopotamus figurine (26.7.898) was found in the wrappings at the small of the mummy's back.
The mirror is currently displayed in the upper tray of a cosmetic box found in the same pit tomb (26.7.1438).
Handle inscribed down one side in gold: The Great One of the Southern Tens, Renyseneb.
Excavated by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, 1910; acquired by Lord Carnarvon in the division of finds. Carnarvon Collection purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.

Carnarvon, 5th Earl of and Howard Carter 1912. Five Years' Explorations at Thebes. pp. 55, 60, pl. LI.

Scott, Nora E. 1944. Home Life of the Ancient Egyptians: A Picture Book. New York: Plantin Press, fig. 13.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 241, 245, fig. 154, 157.

Roehrig, Catharine H. 2015. "Box with Vessels and Mirror." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 141–42, no. 75A.

Grajetzki, Wolfram 2015. "The Pharaoh's Subjects: Court and Provinces." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 121.

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