National Geographic : 1941 Oct
A King's Daughter and Her Personal Possessions WHEN, in 1887 B. c., King Se'n Wosret II of the XIIth Dynasty died and was buried beneath his pyra mid at El Lahun, he left behind him, in addition to his son, Se'n-Wosret III, three daughters, the second of whom, Princess Sit-Hathor-Yiinet, outlived her brother and died in the reign of her nephew, King Amen-em-het III. As a favored relative of three great pharaohs, this petite and doubtless charming woman was well provided for. When, in February, 1913, the ex pedition of the British School of Ar chaeology in Egypt cleared her tomb beside the pyramid of her father at El Lahun, they found in it a treasure of jewelry and other feminine equip ment, which in beauty of design and refinement of execution has remained unsurpassed to the present day. In our portrait we have caught the princess "making up" her eyes with black cosmetic contained in a small gold-mounted jar of polished ob sidian, and applied with a slender ebony stick. Her silver mirror has a handle of obsidian, mounted with gold, electrum, carnelian, lapis lazuli, and green paste, and adorned with gold faces of the goddess Hat-Hor. Sit-H.athor-Yfnet's jewelry is of gold, electrum, and silver, "molded and chased with microscopic ac curacy" and cunningly inlaid with blue and green paste, carnelian, lapis lazuli, turquoise, amethyst, and gar net. The beads in her necklaces, girdles, and bracelets are of amethyst, turquoise, lapis, carnelian, and gold. The pectoral, which Sit-Hathor Yiinet wears, was a gift from her father, King Se'n-Wosret II, and bears his cartouche in the center of its de sign. Her bracelets, as the inlaid in scriptions on their clasps show, were given her by her nephew, King Amen em-het III. On the dressing table of the princess is the larger of her two ebony jewel caskets, paneled in ivory, gold, blue faience, and carnelian, and bound in gold and silver. Beside it lie a silver rouge dish, a bronze razor with gold handle, two bracelets of gold and semi precious stones, an unguent jar of alabaster, and two others of obsidian, mounted with gold. With this attractive representative of one of the greatest and most luxur ious phases of Egypt's history we take our leave of "the Older Period". Aided by our paintings, we have coursed lightly through some 11 mil lenniumsof human development, 1,200 years of which fall within the period of recorded history. We have seen the Egyptian as a shaggy hunter of the Old Stone Age, roaming the gravel terraces of an incredibly ancient Nile. We have followed him through his long formative stage to his first high point in the Pyramid Age of the Old Kingdom. We have seen him falter at the end of this period and rise again to new cultural and artistic heights in the Middle Kingdom. Beyond the stage represented by the ultra-sophisticated lady of El Lahin it would seem impos sible for him to go. We have, however, not yet reached what many students regard as the full bloom of Egyptian culture-the New Kingdom. To this we turn in the second part of this article.