National Geographic : 1941 Oct
The Builder of the Great Pyramid Receives a Visit from HisMother THE time is the early IVth Dynasty, about 2650 B. c.; the place, a corridor leading into the throne room, or audience hall, in the king's palace at El Giza. On the throne dais at the rear of the hall sits the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khufu, the builder of the largest and most enduring tomb monument in history: a pyramid 767 feet at the base, 479 feet high, and containing 3,277,000 cubic yards of solid masonry-some 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing on the average of two and a half tons. Khufu, or, as the Greeks called him, Cheops, wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and is attended by his two fan bearers and his master of ceremonies, the Overseer of the Audience Hall, seen advancing to meet the cortege. The queen-mother, Hetep-heres, widow of the great Snefru, founder of the IVth Dynasty, is borne into the pres ence of her son in her gold-mounted carrying chair, raised high on the shoulders of four courtiers and followed by a group of fashionably dressed ladies of the royal harim. Her pet dwarf waddles along under the chair, a picture of licensed impudence-ancient Egyptian counterpart of a medieval European court jester. The student of ancient Egypt will immediately recognize the composite quality of this picture. The queen's carry- ing chair and silver anklets we know tohave been theprop erty of HIetep-heres; for theywere found inFebruary, 1925, by the Harvard-Boston Expedition inhertomb ontheeast side of the Great Pyramid, together with aquantity ofother splendid items of her personal property-all now inthe Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The gold tiara which thequeen wears, ontheother hand, is borrowed from another IVth Dynasty woman, whose tomb was recently discovered at ElGiza. Her wigisfrom thewell known and nearly contemporary statue ofthePrincess Nofret. The faience "matting" tiles inthecorridor and thedoor way into the audience hall are taken from thetomb ofKing Djoser of the preceding dynasty. The diorite stand tothe right of the doorway-nowin theMetropolitan Museum in New York-belonged toKhufu's son, King Kha(-ef-R6e (Chephren). The palm columns in thehall (here ofwood) arefrom the mortuary temple of KingSahu-R&e oftheVth Dynasty, the throne dais from a relief inthe mortuary temple ofQueen Neit of the VIth Dynasty.The types, clothing, coiffures, and jewelry of the figures have been faithfully copied from IVth and Vth Dynasty tombreliefs.