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stela

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA374

  • Description

    Amennakht's votive stela: this round-topped limestone stela was dedicated by the Scribe of the Place of Truth, Amennakht, and depicts him kneeling in adoration before the enthroned figure of the goddess of the Theban Peak, Meretseger, holding a lotus-flower and ankh sign. Neither figure has eyes, which may be an oversight, or may relate to the substance of the text. There are seven vertical lines of hieroglyphic text at the top. The body of Amennakht is red, his wig black and his kilt apparently unpainted. Meresger wears a red gown, headdress, bangles and sun-disk and holds a red-stemmed lotus. Her wig is black, but the colour of her body has faded or was never painted. The throne is red and blue with orange in between. Traces of blue and red paint remain on the offerings. The dividing lines between the hieroglyphs are red, while the borders of the stela are black. There are no traces of colour on the hieroglyphs.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1170BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 20.6 centimetres
    • Width: 14.3 centimetres
    • Depth: 4 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Position

        top
      • Inscription Translation

        Praises for your spirit, Meretseger,
        Mistress of the West, by the Scribe of the
        Place of Truth, Amennakht true-of-voice;
        he says: 'Be praised in peace, O Lady of
        the West, Mistress who turns herself to
        grace! You made me see darkness in the
        day. I shall declare your power to other
        people. Be gracious to me in your grace!'
      • Inscription Comment

        Incised in seven vertical lines in yellow. These express the donor's personal piety in Middle Egyptian. Such hymns and prayers are characteristic of the Ramesside Period, but the phenomenon can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom and was not necessarily a religious innovation of the New Kingdom. The text is a penitential prayer to the local goddess; other stelae record instances of divine grace where penitence was rewarded, but here only the donors request is recorded. The text mentions 'darkness by day'; this may refer to literal blindness (a common affliction in Egypt, and one dreaded by visual artists such as the inhabitants of Deir el-Medina), but it is more likely to be a metaphor for some other affliction:
  • Curator's comments

    The donor is possibly the Amennakht who was the author of 'The Teaching of Amennakht', but the name was common at Deir el-Medina. The scribe Amennakht, son of Ipuy, is well known from Deir el-Medina. He was appointed to office in year 16 of Ramses II and is last attested under Ramses VI (M. L. Bierbrier, 'The late New Kingdom in Egypt (c. 1300-664 B.C.): a genealogical and chronological investigation' (London, 1975), 39-40; K.A. Kitchen, 'Ramesside Inscriptions' Vol. 5 (Oxford: Blackwell Press), 645-53, K.A. Kitchen, 'Ramesside Inscriptions' Vol. 6 (Oxford: Blackwell Press), 202-4, 376-9). It is uncertain where the stela was set up, but it was presumably in a sacred context, where it could be dedicated to the goddess.

    Bibliography:
    B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' I (Part 2) (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 716;
    B. Gunn,'The religion of the poor in ancient Egypt', in 'Journal of Egyptian Archaeology' 3 (1916), 81-94, esp. 87;
    K.A. Kitchen, 'Ramesside Inscriptions' Vol. 5 (Oxford, 1983), 645;
    A.I. Sidek, 'Popular Religion in Egypt during the New Kingdom', in 'Hildesheimer ägyptologische Beiträge' 27 (Hildesheim, 1987), 201, 203, 205;
    M. Bierbrier and R.B. Parkinson, 'Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae etc. in the British Museum' 12 (London, 1993), pls. 50-1;
    'Les artistes de Pharaon : Deir el-Médineh et la Vallée des Rois', (Paris, 2002), p. 281 [227];
    The British Museum, 'A guide to the Egyptian galleries (Sculpture)' (London, 1909), 150 (no. 541).

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  • Bibliography

    • Parkinson 1999 72 bibliographic details
    • Hall 1925 pl.29 bibliographic details
    • Bierbrier 1993 pl.50-51 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    The stela is slightly worn but otherwise well preserved. The surface is marked in two places by nodules of flint which have interrupted the text.

  • Associated names

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA374

  • Registration number

    .374

  • Additional IDs

    • BS.374 (Birch Slip Number)
Round-topped limestone stela of Amennakht depicting the deceased kneeling in adoration before the enthroned figure of Meresger holding a lotus-flower and ankh-symbol; seven column of Hieroglyphic text above; some painted detail.

Round-topped limestone stela of Amennakht depicting the deceased kneeling in adoration before the enthroned figure of Meresger holding a lotus-flower and ankh-symbol; seven column of Hieroglyphic text above; some painted detail.

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Object reference number: YCA59524

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