This is the inscribed part of a long, tapering funerary cone, made of clay. The circular short end contains the titles and name of the owner, written in hieroglyphs: "The Overseer of the town, the vizier Imenemipet". This man (also known as Pairy and the brother of Sennefer, the owner of the famous tomb TT 96) was an important person, serving as the Mayor of Thebes and vizier during the last years of the reign of Thothmes III and especially during the reign of Amunhetep II. He belonged to the inner circle of the king's acquaintances, and even received the privilege of being granted a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, in the vicinity of the tomb of Amunhetep II (KV 35), the pharaoh whom he had served most. A small tomb was created for him there (KV 48), consisting of a deep shaft and a single chamber, which were found undecorated. In this tomb several shabtis for Imenemipet and fragments of a wood coffin were discovered. However, the funerary cones come from another tomb made for the same person, earlier in his carrier: TT 29 at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor. It seems likely that the vizier never occupied this tomb; but several burials from a slightly later date were found there.
Several hundred cones for Imenemipet are known, mostly found at the site of tomb TT 29. They were included in the standard work on cones by De Garis Davies and Macadam as number 265. See also The World of Funerary Cones (fifth on page).
Other funerary cones for the same person can be found in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (inv.nos. JE 56057, JE 56058, 9/1/25/13), the British Museum, London (inv.nos. EA 35654, EA 62764), the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford (inv.no.1972.479) and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London (inv.nos. UC37681, UC37682, UC37683).
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. 265;
Roland Tefnin - Laurent Bavay, "Study of the Funerary Cones", in Roland Tefnin (ed.), "Report on the Eighth Season of Excavation and Conservation in the Theban Tombs of Amenemope TT 29 and Sennefer TT 96A in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (January 2 – February 19, 2006)", Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte, 82 (2008), p.343-369;
Gary Dibley - Bron Lipkin, A Compendium of Egyptian Funerary Cones (2009);
Kento Zenihiro, The Complete Funerary Cones (2009);
Eberhard Dziobek - Thomas Schneyer - Norbert Semmelbauer, Eine ikonographische Datierungsmethode für thebanische Wandmalereien der 18. Dynastie (Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Altägyptens, 3) (Heidelberg, Heidelberger Orientverlag, 1992);
Friederike Kampp, Die thebanische Nekropole. Zum Wandel des Grabgedankens von der XVIII. bis zur XX. Dynastie (Theben, 13) (Mainz am Rhein, Philipp von Zabern, 1996), S. 214-215, Abb. 115;
Bertha Porter - Rosalind Moss, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text, Reliefs, and Paintings, I, 1. The Theban Necropolis: Private Tombs. (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1960), p. 45-46.
For the name Imenemipet see Hermann Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen (3 volumes, Glückstadt - Hamburg, 1935-1976), volume I, p. XIX, p. 27 no. 18; volume II, p. 340.
New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, circa 1400 B.C.
Ex collection of Dr. Ulrich Müller, Switzerland, acquired between 1968 and 1978.
Fragment as shown; hieroglyphs in deep relief so clearly readable.