Wooden stela of Nakhtefmut

Perhaps from Thebes, Egypt
Third Intermediate Period, around 900 BC

Nakhtefmut and his daughter before Re-Horakhty

The tombs of the élite in New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC) Thebes consisted of offering chapels with painted or carved scenes. The tomb owner was buried in a shaft in the rock below the chapel. In the succeeding Third Intermediate Period (about 1070-661 BC), the construction of such decorated tombs stopped, and decoration was instead concentrated on the items buried with the dead. A number of factors might have influenced this: dwindling financial resources, a desire for more security or a change in belief.

Stelae, usually of stone, were included in tomb design from the beginning of Egyptian history. However, placing a wooden stela in a tomb was a new feature of this period. These stelae are usually brightly coloured, and some are very large. This example shows the owner, Nakhtefmut, accompanied by his daughter Shepeniset, adoring Re-Horakhty, the falcon-headed god of the horizon.

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More information


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

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


Height: 27.500 cm
Width: 20.700 cm

Museum number

EA 37899



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