Limestone pilasters of Horemheb

From Saqqara, Egypt
18th Dynasty, around 1320 BC

Horemheb was one of the most powerful figures in the reign of Tutankhamun (about 1336-1327 BC). He would have supported the general return to the religious practices of the mainstream Eighteenth Dynasty following the interlude of the Amarna Period. He was a general, and, along with many of his important contemporaries, such as the treasurer Maya, chose to be buried in the necropolis (cemetery) of the capital city of Memphis, at Saqqara. The location of the tomb of Horemheb was lost until 1975. When Tutankhamun died childless, another important official, Ay, took the throne. On his death, the throne passed to Horemheb; as king, it was not appropriate that he be buried in Saqqara, and he constructed a tomb instead in the Valley of the Kings.

These pilasters were placed in the second court of the tomb of Horemheb, punctuating a series of reliefs. Each bears a hymn of adoration, one to Osiris, the other to the sun-god Re. Horemheb is still shown in the prevailing style of the Amarna Period, with a rather paunchy stomach.

The reliefs were adjusted once he became king, as a small uraeus (the royal serpent) was carved on the general's brow, marking the change in his status, although there is no evidence that this tomb was used for his burial.

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More information


G.T. Martin, The Memphite tomb of Horemheb (London, Egypt Exporation Society, 1989)

R.E. Freed, Y.J. Markowitz and S.H. D'Auria (eds.), Pharaohs of the sun: Akhenaten (London, Thames & Hudson, 1999)


Height: 179.000 cm (EA 550)
Height: 179.000 cm (EA 550)

Museum number

EA 550;EA 552



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