Limestone stela of Sebekaa

From Thebes, Egypt
11th Dynasty, around 2050 BC

This stela would probably have been set up in a very simple rock tomb. Unusually, in addition to the normal prayers and biographical statements, it displays a range of scenes including butchers, bakers, and the presentation of offerings to the deceased. In effect, a whole set of scenes that would normally decorate the tomb walls are being placed on a stela. The reason for this is probably that Sebekaa, like most of his contemporaries, did not have the means to build a tomb, and thus this stela took on a much greater importance.

One scene is extremely unusual. In the centre, to the left, is a bed or bier on which lies a man. On top of this man lies a much smaller figure. The nature of this scene is not clear, but it might relate to certain spells in the Coffin Texts. The man on the bed is probably the deceased, and the figure on top of him might be one of a variety of goddesses, such as Isis, Nephthys and Nut, who embrace him. Whether there are any sexual connotations in this scene is uncertain.

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More information


T.G.H. James (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-9, Part 1, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1961)

M. Stead, Egyptian life (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)


Height: 59.000 cm
Width: 54.000 cm
Thickness: 9.000 cm

Museum number

EA 1372



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