TITLE: Ushabti for Neferronpet
CULTURE: Ancient Egypt
PERIOD: New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX, Reign of Ramesses II, 1279 - 1213 B.C.
DIMENSIONS: Height 14 cm.
PRICE: 4,400 Euros.
PROVENANCE: Private collection of Dr. L. Benguerel Godó, Barcelona, acquired in London in the 1960s.
This ushabti figurine is depicted as a labourer, as he is holding two hoes to cultivate the fields of Osiris in the afterlife. He is wearing a tripartite wig. Only his hands protrude from his mummyform shroud which covers all the body. These are crossed on his chest and are holding the agricultural implements already mentioned.
The body is inscribed with a vertical column of hieroglyphs. This reads: “Glorified be the Osiris, Sem-Priest, Neferronpet, justified”.
Neferronpet was a tjaty, the highest functionary in the court of the pharaoh, equivalent to the post of vizier, in the court of Ramesses II. He occupied this post in the administration and the government in Upper Egypt from the year 57 of Ramesses II. He was also the Sem-Priest of Ptah, a post that was appointed by the pharaoh, and whose function was to represent him in sacred rites and lead the clergy of Memphis.
He was a member of a noble family in Memphis. The names of his parents are known from his Memphis grave cornerstone, which is now conserved in the City Museum of Liverpool. He was the son of a judge of the same name and of Dame Kafri. He married a woman called Tapypu with whom he ahd six children: two sons, Bakenptah and Inuhayet, and four daughters, Taweretkha’ti, Reset, Henutmeter y Nehet.
According to the studies of Charles Maystre, Neferronpot belonged to the clergy of the god Ptah, and occupied posts of responsibility such as that of Father-Divine and Prophet of Ptah, before being named High Priest of Ptah by Ramesses after the death of the price Khaemweset in the year 55.
In the year 57 Nefferonpet took over the post of vizier and continued in this for the rest of the reign of Ramesses II. As such, he was in charge of the final details of the royal tomb (KV7) and directed the work carried out at Thebes and its environs. He was also in charge of announcing the tenth and eleventh Heb Sed of the king, as is documented by engravings in various monuments.
He was also named “Director of all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt” by Ramesses II, and so was the head of all the clergy of the country. In this post he organised a great festival in Karnak, in honour of Amun-Ra. The combination of high administrative posts and ones in the clergy made him one of the most powerful persons at the end of the reign.
It is possible that he left the post of vizier in the reign of Merneptah, but it seems that he kept that of Sem-Priest in Memphis, continuing his position as Head of Works and Master of Artisans. His ended his career and probably his life in Memphis. Returning to the family roots he decided to build his tomb in the necropolis of the ancient capital.