This is a long, tapering funerary cone, made of clay. The circular short end contains three registers of hieroglyphs, separated by horizontal lines, reading: "The revered one before Osiris, the chief wab-priest Sebekmose, justified". His name means "(The crocodile god) Sebek is born".
Circa 300 cones for this owner were found at the site of his tomb (TT 275) at Gournet Mourai on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, just to the south of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna. Judging from his titles, he must have been an important man. The funerary cones only mention what is probably his main title, chief wab-priest. But from the remains of the decoration in his tomb other titles are known for him, among them: priest, clean of hands; god's father of Ptah-Sokaris; chief wab-priest of the Lord of eternity; lector priest; god's father, clean of hands, acquaintance of the king who educated himself, praised son in the temple of Amun; god's father in the great place, initiated in its secrets and knowing what is in it; one praised by the good god (= the king); god's father in the temple of Sokaris; god's father in the temple of Amenhotep III; god's father of Ptah-Sokaris in the temple of Amun.
The cones for Sebekmose were included in the standard work on cones by De Garis Davies and Macadam as number 501. See also The World of Funerary Cones (first on page).
Generally the tomb is dated to the Ramesside Period, but The World of Funerary Cones gives a slightly earlier date: the period of Tutankhamun - Horemheb.
Funerary cones were placed in rows over the entrance of a tomb chapel, creating a decorative frieze. They were inserted into the wall, so that only the short end was visible. The oldest known examples date to the 11th Dynasty. From the New Kingdom onward the short end was inscribed (stamped) with titles and name of the owner of the tomb; sometimes a short prayer was added.
The function and meaning of these cones is still debated and there are many hypotheses. One of the most frequently encountered suggestions is that they imitate the ends of the poles that formed the roof of ancient Egyptian houses or offering chapels. An overview of the hypotheses can be found here.
Norman de Garis Davies – Miles Frederick Laming Macadam, A Corpus of Inscribed Egyptian Funerary Cones (Oxford, 1957), no. 501;
Gary Dibley - Bron Lipkin, A Compendium of Egyptian Funerary Cones (2009);
Kento Zenihiro, The Complete Funerary Cones (2009);
Henri Gauthier, "Cônes funéraires trouvés à Thèbes en 1917 et 1918", Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 16 (1919), p. 165-187, especially p. 174-175, no. VI;
For the name Sebekmose see Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen (3 volumes, Glückstadt - Hamburg, 1935-1976), I, 304, 13.
New Kingdom (Late 18th dynasty or Ramesside period).
Diameter of inscribed end: 7.5 cm maximum; length of cone: 22 cm.
Ex collection of Dr. Ulrich Müller, Switzerland, acquired between 1968 and 1978.
Intact, which is relatively rare; of most cones only the inscribed part has survived, since the "tail", which was originally inserted into the wall, was later broken off; hieroglyphs in deep relief so clearly readable.