Height: 65.000 cm
Height: 65.000 cm (upper)
Width: 109.500 cm
Acquired in 1903
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Limestone stela of Tjetji
From Thebes, Egypt
11th Dynasty, around 2070 BC
Chief treasurer in the reign of Inyotef II and III
A large number of stelae were made at many sites across Egypt during the First Intermediate Period, though particularly at Thebes. Many of the Theban monuments are very important to historians, as they help to document the progress of the Theban rulers in their campaigns to dominate Upper and then Lower Egypt.
The stela of Tjetji is one of the largest and most finely carved of these texts. The vertical text is a prayer for offerings. The upper text in horizontal lines is an autobiographical inscription. This genre gives an idealized account of an official's character and career, and is not necessarily reliable as 'historical' evidence. However, it does mention that Tjetji served as chief treasurer under Inyotef II at the time when he controlled Upper Egypt as far north as Abydos, and then continued to serve under his son Inyotef III.
The British Museum has a number of smaller pieces of stone showing children and offering bearers, which were probably set up in the tomb adjacent to this stela. The location of Tjetji's tomb is now unkown but was probably in the northern part of the Theban necropolis, not far from those of the kings he served.
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian literature: a, 3 vols. (University of California Press, 1973-1980)
E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian autobiographi, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 84 (Fribourg, Universitàtsverlag, 1988)
T.G.H. James, Ancient Egypt: the land and it (London, 1988)