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date: 18 August 2019


  • Peter F. Dorman


(flc. 1473–c. 1458 bc). Egyptian official. Perhaps the most powerful courtier during the co-regency of Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut, Senenmut began his career as steward of the queen-consort Hatshepsut. His ascent to power culminated with the accession of Hatshepsut to the throne of Egypt, whereupon he was appointed great steward of the god Amun, his primary title among many lesser administrative and religious offices. His considerable influence doubtless derived partly from his association with Hatshepsut and partly from his control over the worldly possessions of the burgeoning estate of Amun. Senenmut is commonly described as the architect of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri but only because he was ‘overseer of royal works at Djeser-djeseru’, a title he shared with several contemporary officials.

In addition to two Theban tombs and a rock-cut cenotaph at Gebel el-Silsila, over two dozen statues of Senenmut have been identified, many of which represent the earliest examples of statue types new to the sculptor’s repertory. Among these are standing or kneeling statues in which Senenmut holds his ward, Princess Nefrure, or presents a votive object such as a naos or sistrum dedicated to a god. Other types depict Senenmut holding a surveyor’s measure, which may be a reference to his office of ‘overseer of fields’, or a cryptogram representing the prenomen of Hatshepsut. Despite the striking variety of statue types, it is doubtful whether Senenmut was the guiding genius behind such conspicuous artistic creativity. His ...

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W. Helck, E. Otto and W. Westendorff, eds: Lexikon der Ägyptologie (Wiesbaden, 1975–)