External view of the courtyard and portico, a feature from the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan

Egypt, Beni Hassan, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Upper Cemetery, External view, .

The tomb of Khnumhotep II is positioned at the northern end of the upper cemetery at Beni Hassan, adjacent to the tomb of Amenemhat (Tomb 2) and an uninscribed tomb (Tomb 1) located further north. Rock-cut in good quality white limestone, the tomb of Khnumhotep II is approached by a causeway and a large forecourt leading to a pillared portico or porch.

The forecourt measures 7.25m (North-South) x 10.20m (East-West), its north and south walls cut into the slope of the mountain now broken in the western part. At the east end an imposing portico 5.13m high is comprised of two columns and two pilasters (rectangular columns) each projecting 0.09m from the side walls, and is surmounted by an architrave spanning the full 7.00m width of the portico.

The columns are polygonal with 16 sides and stand on large circular bases 0.18m high with a diameter of 1.50m. The columns have a diameter of 0.80m at the base, the fluted shafts taper slightly to a height of 4.30m where they are surmounted by abacuses 0.77m square x 0.10m high and an architrave 0.55m high. The pilasters and the architrave both measure 0.77m (East-West). Cut above the architrave is a ledge, now partly damaged, which projects 0.40m with a present height of 0.65m and may have been a lintel or cornice. Curiously, the underside (soffit) of the overhang is decorated at regular intervals (approximately 0.30m) with a series of small rectangular blocks (dentils) with rounded ends, to a height of 0.08m and projecting 0.35m.

Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, Reign of Amenemhat II (c. 1918-1884 BCE).
Egypt, Beni Hassan, Upper Cemetery, Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), External view.
Relief or Polychrome Paint.
Parent Context
Data Credits
Compiled by Alexandra Woods and the Beni Hassan Research Group with resources from the Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre, and the Australian Centre for Egyptology.
Project Funding
Supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project scheme: DP160102223 "Measuring meaning in Egyptian art: A new approach to an intractable problem" held by N. Kanawati (MQ), L. Evans (MQ), A. Woods (MQ) and J. Kamrin (Met), the Macquarie University Department of Ancient History, and the Macquarie University Faculty of Arts.
Original Citation
N. Kanawati & L. Evans, Beni Hassan: Volume I: The Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Australian Centre for Egyptology: Reports 36, Aris and Phillips, Oxford, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-85668-846-1), pl. 01a (photograph).
Recorded and published with permission from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Photographs by Effy Alexakis as part of research on site. Copyright Macquarie University 2018. All rights reserved.
Cite this
Alexandra Woods "External view of the courtyard and portico, a feature from the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan ." In The Beni Hassan Visual Dictionary: Khnumhotep II, edited by Alexandra Woods, Brian Ballsun-Stanton, and Nicolle Leary. Sydney: Macquarie University, 2018. https://benihassan.com/dictionary/Khnumhotep+II+Tomb+3/External+view+of+the+courtyard+and+portico/