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Seneb

Seneb was a dwarf who served as a high-ranking court official in the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, circa 2520 BC. Seneb was a person of considerable importance and wealth who owned thousands of cattle, held twenty palaces and religious titles and was married to a high-ranking priestess of average size with whom he had three children. His successful career and the lavishness of his burial arrangements are indicative of the acceptance given to dwarfs in ancient Egyptian society, whose texts advocated the acceptance and integration of those with physical and mental disabilities.

Seneb is depicted with his wife and children in a painted sculpture from his tomb, rediscovered in 1926, that is a famous example of Old Kingdom art. It shows him sitting cross-legged on a block of stone with his wife embracing him and his children standing below him where the legs of a full-size person would ordinarily have been. The composition of the scene thus achieves a harmonious symmetry. It depicts Seneb realistically with the facial features and shortened limbs of an individual with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism. Paintings and carvings in the tomb give his titles and depict various scenes from his life, such as carrying out inspections of his estate and holding symbols of his office.