Funerary cone of Heby

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III
1390–1352 B.C.

Object Place: Egypt, Likely from Thebes (Dra Abu el-Naga)

Catalogue Raisonné

Davies & MacAdam 15


Height x diameter: 5.3 x 8.3 cm (2 1/8 x 3 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Architectural elements

Funerary cone fragment of reddish clay with tapering cone end broken off and missing. Very faint traces of red wash/paint along one edge. Circular stamp (faint) on head end carries five divided columns of hieroglyphic text identifying the owner. Large fragment broken from head’s lower left portion, taking small portions of text (known from parallels).

Translation of text:
“One Honored b[y Osiris]
Scribe of Cattle Accounting of Amen [through the Nomes of Upper & Lower Egypt]
Heby, [True-of-Voice, son of the Scribe of Cattle
Accounting of Amen, Senmes, True-of-Voice]
Born of the Lady [of the House Rui]”

ImAxy x[r Wsir]
sS Hsb-iHw n Imn [xt spAwt Smaw mHw]
Hby [mAa xrw sA sS
Hsb-iHw n Imn sn-ms mAa xrw]
ms n nbt[-pr Rwi]

Funerary cones were components of a frieze, inserted above the doors of private tombs, particularly in the Theban region. They have been variously interpreted as: name-plates of sorts to identify the tomb owner, decorative memorials, boundary markers for a tomb, dummy bread loaves or meat offerings, symbolic roof beams, or (for the visible circular head) depictions of the sun disk.

Davies and Macadam, A Corpus of Inscribed Egyptian Funerary Cones (1957), type #15.

For other examples of this tomb owner see: Res.72.293; Res.72.315.


Probably from Dra Abu el-Naga. By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way.
(Accession Date: June 28, 1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way