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Limestone stela of Mahwia


Height: 28.500 cm
Width: 22.500 cm

Excavated by W.M. Flinders Petrie
Gift of the Egyptian Research Account

EA 1471

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Limestone stela of Mahwia

    Found in the foundations of the temple of Ramesses II, Memphis, Egypt
    Possibly 18th Dynasty, 15th-14th century BC

    44 images of ears

    In 1908 Flinders Petrie was excavating in the foundations of the Temple of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) at Memphis, and discovered there many 'ear stelae'. This is one of the best examples. Stelae bearing images of gods do sometimes bear a number of ears (see the stela of Penbuy, also in The British Museum), while others like this one are literally covered in them. These ears have been interpreted either as an expression of the willingness of the god to listen, or as a magical compulsion to ensure that the god hears. The central column of inscription on this stela offers praise to the god Ptah. The owner Mahwia clearly expected a positive response to his prayers.

    R. Parkinson, Cracking codes: the Rosetta St (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

    M.L. Bierbrier (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-7, part 12 (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)