Artist's Sketches of Senenmut

Period: New Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 18

Reign: Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

Date: ca. 1479–1458 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes

Medium: Limestone, ink

Dimensions: H. 10 cm (3 15/16 in.); W. 16.5 cm (6 11/16 in.); Th. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.)

Credit Line: Anonymous Gift, 1931

Accession Number: 31.4.2


Ostraca are chips of limestone or fragments of pottery that were used as writing surfaces by ancient Egyptian scribes, or as sketch pads by artists. Despite the lack of any identifying text, the double profile on this ostracon can easily be identified as Senenmut, one of Hatshepsut's well known courtiers. The profiles are similar to the representation of Senenmut on another ostracon in the Museum's collection (36.3.252) and to a drawing on a wall in his tomb (see additional images). On the back of this ostracon is a sketch that depicts a small rodent.