Chair of Reniseneb
The back of this wooden chair, which belonged to the scribe Reniseneb, is handsomely veneered with ivory and embellished with incised decoration showing the owner seated on a chair of identical form. It is the earliest surviving chair with such a representation, and it is the only non-royal example known.
The scene and accompanying text have funerary import and may have been added following Reniseneb’s death to make the chair a more suitable funerary object. The high quality of its joinery and the harmony of its proportions testify to the skill of ancient Egyptian carpenters. The mesh seat has been restored following ancient models.
The seat of the chair is a reproduction made from woven reeds, as the original seat has long since decayed. An image of Reniseneb seated in a similar chair is carved into the backrest of the chair, and its feet take the form of carved lion claws.
Lotus flowers are also depicted on the chair’s carved ivory, possibly due to Egyptian’s association of lotus flowers with rebirth and healing.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Thutmose III, around 1450 BC. Wood, ebony, and ivory. h. 86.2 cm (33 15/16 in). Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 68.58