Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Harnefer son of Paheb (Phibis) and Takerheb (Kalibis)

Ptolemaic Period
280 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
H 14.3 (5 5/8 in.); W. 8.4 (3 5/8 in.); D. 15.8 cm (6 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mortimer Grunauer, 1980
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
This fine head exemplifies a type that emerges strongly in the fourth century and later, termed an 'egghead' for obvious reasons. In this type the large bare skull combines with small sweet facial features to create an almost infant-like appearance; it has been suggested this is perhaps an allusion to rebirth and renewal.

The head joins a striding statue that is in the Musée Cantonnal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland. The wide inscribed back plinth of the statue reveals that the Harnefer was a priest of Khonsu the Child, a god who had a temple within the precinct of his mother Mut at Karnak where this statue would have been set up.

Harnefer was a member of the so-called Nesmin family, a prominent priestly family at Thebes in the early Ptolemaic Period. Hungarian archaeologists have recognized the family burial place in the in the reused Ramesside Theban Tomb 32, opening up many possibilities for better understanding of this family and the burial practices of this era.
Bequest of Mortimer Grunauer, 1980. The head joins the lower part of a statue that is in the Musée cantonnal des beaux-arts, Lausanne, Switzerland, Eg7, and had before 1938 been in the Fondation Widmer-Curtat.

Wild, Henri 1954. "Statue de Hor-Néfer au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne." In Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, 54, main publication of the lower part of the statue.

Bothmer, Bernard V. and Herman De Meulenaere 1986. "The Brooklyn Statuette of Hor, Son of Pawen (with an Excursus on Eggheads)." In Egyptological Studies in Honor of Richard A. Parker, Oresented on the Occasion of his 78th Birthday December 10, 1983, p. 14, note 47.

Quaegebeur, Jan 1995. "À la recherche du haut clergé thébain à l'époque ptolémaïque." In Hundred-Gated Thebes, Pap. Lugd.-Bat. 27, pp. 152-155.

Zutter, Jörg 1998. La Collection du Dr. Henri-Auguste Widmer au Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne.

Kockelmann, Holger 2004. "Zur Lesung eingiger Personennamen auf Totenbuch-Mumienbinden." In Göttinger Miszellen, 198, p. 35 no. 33.

Klotz, David 2009. "The Theban Cult of Chonsu the Child in the Ptolemaic Period." In Documents de Théologie Thébaines Tardives I, CENiM 3, pp. 126-7.

Schreiber, Gábor 2011. "Early and Middle Ptolemaic Funerary Art at Thebes (ca. 306-88 B.C.)." In Proceedings of the Colloquium on Theban Archaeology at the Supreme Council of Antiquities November 5, 2009, esp. p. 109ff re family.

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