Height: 523.000 cm
Diameter: 75.000 cm (at base)
Gift of the
Room 4: Egyptian sculpture
Red granite column
From the Temple of Heryshef, Herakleopolis,
Originally 12th Dynasty, about 1985-1795 BC
The important town of Herakleopolis (modern Ehasnaya el-Medina) first appears in Egyptian history during the First Intermediate Period (about 2160-2040 BC). During this period the kings of the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties ruled northern Upper Egypt and the Delta; these rulers were defeated by the kings of Thebes but little material survives from this period, and none tells us anything about the major events.
This is one of a number of granite columns from a Middle Kingdom (2040-1750 BC) temple at Herakleopolis. The columns were not inscribed when the temple was built and Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) later incorporated them into his temple to Heryshef (Greek Arsaphes). The king added the major vertical inscription and the scene of himself presenting offerings to the god. His son and successor, Merenptah (1213-1203 BC), added his own names in the spaces beneath the offering scenes. The reuse of earlier monuments is a common feature of the Ramesside era (Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties).
E. Naville, Ahnas el Medineh (London, Egypt Exploration Fund, 1894)
I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)