Limestone headrest of Qeniherkhepeshef


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Qeniherkhepeshef lived at the village of Deir el-Medina, and was the official scribe of the tomb. His job was to keep the attendance register of the workers who were employed in the construction of the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. His comfortable seat, by the workmen's rest huts on the pass between the village and the valley, can still be seen. It is inscribed with his name to prevent anyone else from using it. Surviving documents show that Qeniherkhepeshef used men of the gang to do private work for him during official hours. He tried to use his office to get the workmen to do the work without payment. He was also accused of bribery on two occasions.It is perhaps no wonder then, that he seems to have suffered from bad headaches. A papyrus written in his sloppy hand gives a spell against demons. His limestone funerary headrest is decorated with figures of Bes. The god's hideous appearance and the snakes and a spear that he is brandishing were intended to drive away night demons. The 'Dream Book' in Qeniherkhepeshef's private library also offered interpretations of nightmares. These were thought to be caused by demons, or sent as a punishment by particular gods.


  • Title: Limestone headrest of Qeniherkhepeshef
  • Date Created: -1210/-1210
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 18.80cm; Width: 23.00cm; Depth: 9.70cm; Weight: 1900.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: incised; painted
  • Subject: ancient egyptian deity
  • Registration number: 1933,1014.4
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Deir el-Medina
  • Period/culture: 19th Dynasty
  • Material: limestone
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Nahman, Maurice

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