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stela

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA188

  • Description

    Limestone funerary stela of Petobastis-Imhotep: the arch of the stela is occupied by an unusually large winged sun disk, from which are suspended two cobras wearing a red crown and a white crown and deploying long-handled, ostrich-plume fans; between the snakes are the words "given life." In the register below, Osiris sits, guarded by the wings of his wife, Isis, with their sister Nephthys behind. Petobastis is being led before the god by the falcon-headed Harendotes, who wears a double crown, and the jackal-headed Anubis, rather unusually wearing an atefcmwn. Behind them is Imhotep, an anthropoid deity wearing a cap and carrying a was scepter and ankh sign. A large 'was', combined with 'ankh' and 'djed' signs, forms a border along each edge. The inscription below has two sections, the upper lines carved in hieroglyphs and the lower lines with the same information painted in demotic script.
    Petobastis wears a long kilt wrapped high on the breast and, by virtue of his office as High Priest of Ptah, a leopard-skin vestment and a sidelock on his shaven head.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 81 centimetres (case)
    • Width: 58 centimetres (case)
    • Height: 75 centimetres (stela)
    • Width: 52 centimetres (stela)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Position

        top register
      • Inscription Translation

        given life
      • Inscription Comment

        In sunk relief between cobras.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Demotic
      • Inscription Position

        bottom register
      • Inscription Comment

        Painted in rows.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Demotic
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Position

        third register
      • Inscription Comment

        Painted in six rows.
  • Curator's comments

    The High Priest of Ptah, one of the most powerful priesthoods in Egypt, had become even more powerful during the Ptolemaic Period, by virtue of its incumbents' allying themselves closely with the Ptolemies. The office had come to be monopolized by one family. Petobastis, as this stela tells us, inherited the office from his father at the age of seven and died at sixteen. His early death coincided with the invasion of Augustus and the death of Cleopatra. This may well have been mere coincidence; but the political unrest of the time probably explains the fact, also recorded here, that he was not buried until almost seven years later, by his cousin, who, in addition to carrying on the family profession of High Priest of Ptah, was now also a priest of Caesar Augustus.

    Translation: C. Maystre, 'Les grands pretres de Ptah de Memphis' (OBO 113), p.424-427.

    Bibliography: 'Temples and Tombs' [exhibition catalogue] (American Federation of Arts, 2006), 129, cat no. 84;
    B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' III (Oxford, 1981), p. 744.
    J. Quaegebeur, Chronique d'Egypte 49 (1974), 66 (no. 13).
    PM III (2): 744

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  • Bibliography

    • Russmann 2001 140 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2006 7 Sept-26 Nov, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2006 21 Dec-2007 18 Mar, Jackonsville, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Temples & Tombs
    2007 15 Apr-8 Jul, Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2007 16 Nov-2008 10 Feb, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Temples & Tombs

  • Condition

    fair

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1823

  • Acquisition notes

    Erroneously indicated in earlier Merlin records as coming from the 1835 Salt sale, but a. it is not in the catalogue b. it appears to be item 49 in the 1821 list of the Salt collection [NCS 9/2/05]

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA188

  • Registration number

    .188

  • Additional IDs

    • BS.188 (Birch Slip Number)
Round-topped limestone stela divided into four registers: 1 - Winged sun-disc with pendent crowned uraei. 2 - Scene of the deceased being led by Horus, Sobek(?) and another figure into the presence of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. 3 - Six rows of painted Hieroglyphic text(very faint). 4 - Rows of painted Demotic text.

Round-topped limestone stela divided into four registers: 1 - Winged sun-disc with pendent crowned uraei. 2 - Scene of the deceased being led by Horus, Sobek(?) and another figure into the presence of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. 3 - Six rows of painted Hieroglyphic text(very faint). 4 - Rows of painted Demotic text.

Image description

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