Diadem of Princess Sithathoriunet

Diadem of Princess Sithathoriunet. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 44919
Diadem of Princess Sithathoriunet. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 44919

When Flinders Petrie and Guy Brunton explored the shaft tomb of Princess Sithathoriunet in 1914 (located in the funerary complex of Senusret II at El Lahun), they found little apart from her red granite sarcophagus and a set of canopic jars, the vessels which accompanied each burial to house the internal organs. Then they discovered a niche in the wall that had been plastered over. Inside were five boxes containing Sithathoriunet’s jewelry, a mirror, razors and pots for cosmetics. Most of the objects from this tomb are now on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Diadem of Princess Sithathoriunet. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 44919
Diadem of Princess Sithathoriunet. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 44919

The masterpiece in this collection is a diadem in the form of a uraeus, a circular band of gold decorated with a uraeus or rearing cobra at the front and fifteen rosettes. It also has two gold plumes and six bands of gold hand down from the diadem. It would have been worn on top of a wig made up of dozens of long braids held in little gold clasps. The uraeus’s head is made of lapis lazuli and the eyes of garnets set in gold rims. The rosettes are inlaid with lapis, carnelian and green faience in imitation of feldspar and turquoise. 

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret II, ca. 1897-1878 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 44919

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