Egypt Picture - The Dwarf Seneb and His Family

The Dwarf Seneb and His Family

The Dwarf Seneb and His Family


Roger Wood


The Dwarf Seneb and His Family


Dwarfs were respected members of society in ancient Egypt and often attained high positions at court. The dwarf Seneb, for example, who has been known for many years from his splendid statue in the Cairo Museum, was chief of all the dwarfs who were responsible for the royal wardrobe. He was also a priest involved in the funerary cults of Khufu and Djedefre. It is known from inscriptions on the false door of his tomb that he was a wealthy man who owned cattle. His statue depicts him sitting cross-legged in the position of a scribe, indicating that he was an educated man. Seneb's wife, Senetites, sits beside him with her arm affectionately around his shoulders, in typical Old Kingdom style. Funerary statues project an ideal view of the deceased, so the sculptor has sensitively disguised his deformity, ingeniously compensating for his short stature by placing his two children where his legs would otherwise have been.

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