Stela of the chief craftsman Qeh

From Deir el-Medina, Thebes, Egypt
19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, around 1250 BC

Foreign deities in Egyptian forms

Several gods and goddesses were imported from Syria-Palestine from the late Middle Kingdom (around 1800 BC) onwards. The appearance of these deities coincided with Egyptian exploration and conquest of parts of western Asia, which is perhaps why most of them were associated with warfare. The deities were identified by symbols, usually weapons, showing their foreign origin.

The stela of Qeh, who was a foreman of the workmen of Deir el-Medina, shows the major Asiatic deities. In the lower register, Qeh and his family worship Anat, goddess of war, who also had a strong sexual aspect. Anat was associated with the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who was patron of the Theban necropolis and might be expected in this type of stela. Anat was sometimes interpreted as the consort of Reshef (a Canaanite war deity), who is pictured on the right in the upper scene, or Min, on the left.

Min and Reshef were associated in a triad with the goddess Qedeshet. In characteristic form, Qedeshet is shown naked, standing on a lion and holding flowers and snakes. Her full frontal pose is similar to that of Harpokrates (Horus the child) on cippi stelae. The inclusion of the Egyptian god Min in this triad may be due to his association with the Eastern Desert. This stela may have originally stood outside Qeh's tomb at Deir el-Medina (number 360) or in a local temple.

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Stela of the chief craftsman Qeh

Front view

  • Detail of stela (upper)

    Detail of stela (upper)

  • Detail of stela (lower)

    Detail of stela (lower)

 

More information

Bibliography

S. Quirke, Ancient Egyptian religion (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

I. Cornelius, The iconography of the Canaani (Fribourg, University Press Gottingen Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994)

T.G.H. James (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-2, Part 9 (London, The British Museum Press, 1970)

I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

Dimensions

Height: 75.000 cm
Width: 48.000 cm

Museum number

EA 191

YCA504

Location

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