Canopy of Queen Hetepheres I (reproduction)

Egyptian
Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, reign of Snefru to Khufu
2575–2551 B.C.
Cabinetmaker Joseph Gerte (1886-1967)


Dimensions

Height x width x length: 221.5 x 258.8 x 313.7 cm (87 3/16 x 101 7/8 x 123 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

38.873

Medium or Technique

Wood, gold, copper, silver, leather, faience, ebony

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Reproductions

Those who could afford it equipped their tombs with all the necessities and comforts of life on earth, so that they could continue to enjoy them in the afterlife. For Queen Hetepheres, wife of King Sneferu and mother of King Khufu, these necessities included her entire bedroom suite: her portable canopy, bed with headrest, armchair, and curtain box, all designed of wood overlaid with gold.

The canopy was cleverly designed so that it disassembled easily and without damage, thanks to the copper sheathing reinforcing the joins. Sheets of fabric anchored to the top and sides by copper staples afforded privacy and protection from insects. When not in use, they might be stored in the elaborately inlaid box, whose long sides, like the endposts of the canopy, bear the name and titles of the queen’s husband, Sneferu.

All of the furniture is noteworthy for its austerity of line and selective use of detail. The seeming simplicity masks sophisticated joinery. The beauty and technical achievement of these objects are matched only by the amazing story of their accidental discovery in 1925 and subsequent excavation and restoration. Because it was an unplundered royal tomb, the original contents remained in Cairo, as stipulated in the Expedition contract. The set in the Museum is an exact duplicate.

Provenance

From Giza, tomb G 7000 X (original). Reproduction commissioned for the MFA and made by Boston cabinetmaker Joseph Gerte, 1938.
(Accession Date: May 1, 1938)

Credit Line

Departmental Appropriation