Lintel of Tjenti

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor)
Object Type
Architecture, Architectural element, Door, Lintel
Old Kingdom
Fifth Dynasty
Stone/minerals (Limestone)
Egypt, Saqqara
Width: 1149mm | Depth: 80mm | Height: 312mm
Number of Elements
Divine Name

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A limestone lintel, likely from Saqqara, inscribed for the Overseer of Craftsmen Tjenti. The prepared surface of its outer face carries a panel of sunk relief depicting Tjenti, wielding a staff in his left hand and a kerchief in his right, seated on a couch beside his wife, Niankhhathor. Both figures wear wigs, his short and hers long, and long close-fitting tunics. Before them are two lines of hieroglyphs containing the offering formula. The lintel can be dated to the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2510–2370 BC), with many close parallels known from Giza and Saqqara. The main dating criterion is the offering formula. The history of the lintel is rather long and complicated. It was first recorded by Sir John Gardner Wilkinson (MSS. Wilkinson dep. e. 68), author of The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians and the most celebrated British Egyptologist of his generation, during his last visit to Egypt in 1856. At that time, it was in the possession of Dr Henry William Charles Abbott, a British medical practitioner and collector. The next reference to the lintel is in 1892, when it was recorded by the Danish Egyptologist Jens Lieblein (1892, p. 571 [1407]) as being in the Amherst Collection. William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst, First Baron Amherst of Hackney, had a large collection of Egyptian antiquities that were displayed at his home of Didlington Hall. While at Didlington Hall, the Scottish Coptologist Walter Ewing Crum copied the full inscription in a notebook, which was subsequently given to Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner who deposited it the archives of the Griffith Institute in Oxford (Gardiner MMS 28.66.18). The Amherst collection was sold at auction in 1921, with the lintel being purchased by Messrs Spinks, who were then the foremost dealers of Egyptian antiquities in London. Four years later in 1925, the lintel was purchased at auction by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome before eventually arriving in Swansea in 1971.


Lieblein, J. 1892. Dictionnaire de noms hiéroglyphiques en ordre généalogique et alphabétique: publié d'après les monuments égyptiens, vol. 4. Christiania; Leipzig: Brögger & Christie; J. C. Hinrichs. [p. 571, nr. 1407] Porter, Bertha and Rosalind L. B. Moss 1981. Topographical bibliography of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs and paintings III: Memphis. Part 2: Ṣaqqâra to Dahshûr, 2nd, revised and augmented ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Griffith Institute. [p. 762]


Wellcome Number
A31159 (available at
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge: 13–17 Jun 1921, Lot 194 | Knight, Frank & Rutley: 27 Feb 1925, Lot 27
Auction Details
Lot 27: A limestone lintel of "The Overseer of the Vase-borers," Thenta and his wife Hathor-en-Ankh, 39 in. by 12 in., an important piece from Sakkara, Old Empire.
Previous Owners
Lord William Amhurst Tyssen-Amherst (1835–1909) | Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936) | Spink & Son Ltd (auctioneers) | Dr Henry William Charles Abbott (1807–1859)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)


(1) ḥtp di͗ nswt ḥtp <di͗> i͗npw nb tꜣ ḏsr ḳrst<w>.f m s<my>t i͗mntyt <i͗ꜣw> nfr wrt (1) An offering which the king gives and an offering which Anubis, Lord of the Sacred Land, <gives>, that he (Tjenti) be buried in the western desert at a very good <age>. (2)prt-ḫrw n.f t ḥnḳt pꜣt kꜣ ꜣpd m ḥb nb rꜥ-nb n <i͗>m<y>-r ḥmwt<yw> ṯnty (2)A voice offering for him of bread, beer, cake, ox, fowl on every festival of every day for the Overseer of Craftsmen, Tjenti. (3)ḥmt.f n<y>-ꜥnḫ-ḥwt-ḥr (3)His wife, Niankhhathor

Personal Names
Niankhhathor (ny-ꜥnḫ-ḥwt-ḥr) | Tjenti (ṯnty)
Last modified: 18 Feb 2022

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