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Glazed steatite cylinder seal of Sobekneferu

 

Length: 4.420 cm
Diameter: 1.550 cm

EA 16581

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Glazed steatite cylinder seal of Sobekneferu

    From the Fayum, Egypt
    12th Dynasty, (about 1799-1795 BC)

    Sobekneferu was a female king whose accession to the throne followed the death of Amenemhat IV, who was perhaps her brother and possibly also her husband. She was probably the daughter of Amenemhat III, whose mortuary temple she completed at Hawara. According to the historian Manetho, she had a brief reign of around four years (about 1799-1795 BC).

    Four of the royal names of Sobekneferu are inscribed on this seal. The fifth is known from other monuments. She was the first ruler to compound a name with that of the god Sobek. This crocodile-headed god was particularly associated with the Fayum. The epithet to the name of the king 'beloved of Sobek, lord of Shedyt' stresses the links between the king and this god. The mention of the Fayum town of Shedyt suggests that the seal comes from this site. Amenemhat III undertook many building projects in the Fayum and so his successors may also have had important associations with this area.

    Seals were used from early times to ensure that goods, and later, documents were not tampered with. Cylinder seals were rolled over the damp clay covers which closed jars of valuable commodities such as wine. These were sometimes destined for use at court, and were sealed with the name of the king.

    V.G. Callender, 'Materials for the reign of Sebekneferu' in Proceedings of the seventh Int (Leuven, 1998)

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