Canopic box of Hatnefer

New Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 116

In 1936, the Museum's Egyptian Expedition discovered a rock-cut tomb on a hillside just below the offering chapel of Senenmut, one of Hatshepsut's best known officials. The tomb had been prepared for the burial of Senenmut's mother, Hatnefer, who had died in her 70s, early in the joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. By this time, Senenmut had become an important official, and he could provide a comparatively rich burial for his mother, including this canopic box.

The box and lid are made of cypress which has been covered with a layer of linen and gesso, and painted white. Inside the two leaves of an inner lid pivot open to reveal four compartments that held the four canopic jars containing Hatnefer's internal organs (for a group of canopic jars from about the same period, see 12.181.253a–c). The box and lid have been constructed in the shape of a shrine and the base has two runners that imitate a sledge. Sledges were the most efficient way to transport large objects over mud roads and sand in ancient Egypt (see 24.1.84 for an actual sledge).

When the objects in Hatnefer's tomb were divided between the Museum and the Egyptian Antiquities Service, the Museum received a number of pieces including her gilded mummy mask (36.3.1), an exquisite heart scarab (36.3.2), and pieces of fine personal jewelry that were found on her mummy (36.3.3–.6).

Canopic box of Hatnefer, Wood, linen, gesso

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.