Wooden stela of Deniuenkhonsu

Probably from Thebes, Egypt
Third Intermediate period (about 950-900 BC)

This stela was made for a woman named Deniuenkhonsu, a musician of Amun and the wife of Ankhkhonsu. Deniuenkhonsu is depicted standing by a heaped offering table, raising her hands in adoration before the sun-god Re. The ancient Egyptians believed that Re was the creator of life on earth, and that he possessed the power to restore the dead to life. In mythological terms, this rebirth took place during the twelve hours of the night, when Re travelled through the Underworld. On this journey he defeated the forces of chaos, experienced rejuvenation himself, and brought light and new life to the dead who lay at rest there.

Here Re is shown in his composite form as Re-Horakhty-Atum. The god is represented in human shape, with the head of a falcon. A large sun disc, encircled by a serpent, signifies his solar associations. He grasps royal sceptres in his right hand, while in his left is the was-sceptre, signifying 'dominion'. From the top of this the ankh, the sign of life, faces towards Deniuenkhons. This alludes to the new life which she receives from the god. Within the curved upper zone of the stela the sun is depicted again in two different forms: as a winged disc and as a scarab beetle flanked by jackals.

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More information

Bibliography

M.L. Bierbrier (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-5, Part 11 (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)

J. Nunn, Ancient Egyptian medicine (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 33.200 cm
Width: 27.000 cm

Museum number

EA 27332

YCA63157

Acquired in 1896

Location

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