Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Gallery Text

This relief was part of a doorway in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian official named Ptahshepses Impy. He was an assistant supervisor in the king’s palace. Impy appears here twice with his family: his daughters Kerfet, Ity, and Khuit stand behind him on the left fragment, and his wife Hatkau and son Impy (Jr.) stand behind him on the right. Something, however, is missing in between these family portraits.

This relief was deliberately cut into at least three pieces, perhaps for sale, at some point after antiquity. The missing central portion once contained a three-line hieroglyphic inscription that allowed Impy to have what he needs for a successful afterlife—now disrupted by this loss. Careful study through digital drawing and comparison with other tomb inscriptions reveals that, at minimum, the bottom line contained Impy’s title and nickname. Therefore, the missing portion must have been at least as wide as indicated in the line drawing (right).

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Relief fragments from the tomb of the official Ptahshepses, nicknamed Impy
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Tomb Relief of the Official Ptahshepses, Also Called Impy
Alternate Title: Sunk Relief, inscribed for Ptahshepses, called Impy, Superintendent of the palace and his family
Work Type
sculpture, relief
2323-2150 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Saqqara (Egypt)
Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3740, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Ancient Egypt: Art for Eternity
View this object's location on our interactive map

Physical Descriptions

Limestone, with plaster repairs (ancient)
max. H. 32.4 × W. 94 × D. 7 cm (12 3/4 × 37 × 2 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Left fragment (1993.222.A), upper left corner, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: sA.t=f mr.t=f qrft iti xwit [his daughter(s), whom he loves, Kerfet, Ity, and Khuit]
  • inscription: Right fragment (1993.222.B), left side, upper horizontal register register, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: Htp [di] nswt [an offering which the king [gives]..]; middle horizontal register, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: H[t]p [di] wsir [an offering which Osiris [gives]…]; lower horizontal register, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: [imy-xt] pr-aA [[the Imy-Khet of] the Palace…]
  • inscription: Left fragment (1993.222.A), right edge [at break], vertical column, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: imy-xt pr-aA imAxw impy [the Imy-Khet of the Palace, the worthy one, Impy]
  • inscription: Right fragment (1993.222.B), left center, vertical column, sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: Imy-xt pr-aA imAxw ptHSpss [the Imy-Khet of the Palace, the worthy one, Ptahshepses]
  • inscription: Right fragment (1993.222.B), upper center right (between two taller figures), sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: Hm.t=f HA.t-kA.w [his wife, Hatkau]
  • inscription: Right fragment (1993.222.B), upper right (above rightmost figure), sunk relief, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: sA=f im[p]y [his son, Impy]


Recorded Ownership History
Saqqara, Egypt. Charles Dikran Kelekian, New York, NY, (1951-1982), by inheritance; to Nanette Rodney Kelekian, New York, NY, (1982-1993), gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 1993.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Nanette Rodney Kelekian in memory of George and Ilse Hanfmann
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Egyptian official Ptahshepses, also called Impy, is depicted twice flanking an offering formula written in hieroglyphs on this limestone funerary relief excuted in sunk relief: at left striding, with his three daughters, Kerfet, Ity and Khuit, “whom he loves,” as the inscription above them attests, standing behind him; at right he appears with his wife Hatkau and his eldest son Impy II. In both instances he wears a short kilt and holds a staff and scepter, though he is shown with two different headdresses.
Fragments of a lintel from the tomb of Ptahshepses, nicknamed Impy (pronounced PTAH-shep-ses IM-pee).

Publication History

  • James Cuno, Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Ivan Gaskell, and William W. Robinson, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, ed. James Cuno, Harvard University Art Museums and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), p. 94-95, ill..
  • Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997
  • James Cuno, ed., A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, Mass., Spring 2000), p. 21
  • Jen Thum, Learning from the Lintel of Ptahshepses Impy at the Harvard Art Museums, In the House of Heqanakht: Text and Context in Ancient Egypt. Studies Presented in Honor of James P. Allen, ed. M. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro, Silvia Štubňová Nigrelli, and Mark Lehner, Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden) (Leiden, 2023), 152-170, figs. 11.1-11.5

Exhibition History

  • Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011
  • 32Q: 3740 Egyptian, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Related Articles

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at