- Museum number
Round-topped limestone stela: above the figured scene is the usual winged sun disc with Nekhbet and Wadjyt as pendant cobras wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively, for which they were the protective goddesses. Between them are the hieroglyphs for 'giving life' and, on either side in mirror image, the hieroglyphs name with epithets Horus of Edfu, whose wings protect the disc. The sign for heaven forms the top of the frame to the figured scene, in which a king and queen stand before three deities; they do not make offerings, but are in the company of the divine triad because they are considered divine in their own right. The king and queen depicted were identified as Ptolemy II and his sister-wife Arsinoe II. The signs in the cartouches are still barely legible, but enough survives to suggest that it is rather Ptolemy IV and Arsinoe III who are shown. The fringed garment worn by the king is counterpart to that worn by his queen. Both royal figures carry an 'ankh', symbol of life, and the king holds a staff, which apparently ends in an anthropomorphic figure. He wears the double crown of united Egypt, she the tall plumes, cow's horns and disc of a goddess. The queen's hairstyle appears to comprise corkscrew locks, since the usual lappets of a tripartite wig are not present. The divine triad comprises ithyphallic Min with characteristic tall plumes and flail floating over his upraised arm; the child-form Harpocrates, who stands on a block to bring his head to the level of his co-deities; and Wadjyt, protectress of Lower Egypt, represented in completely human form but wearing the Lower Egyptian crown. There are still traces of gilding on this piece.
- Production date
Height: 74 centimetres
Weight: 98 kilograms
Width: 51.70 centimetres
Depth: 13.70 centimetres
- Inscription subject
- Curator's comments
- When excavated the stela was found set into the recess at one end of a mudbrick chapel acting as the focal point for worship. Another stela depicting Min and Harpocrates in the company of a deified Ptolemaic queen found at the same site is further evidence of the importance of this cult at San el-Hagar and the desire of the Ptolemaic rulers to be associated with it.
R.S. Bianchi in R.S. Bianchi (ed.), 'Cleopatra's Egypt, Age of the Ptolemies' (New York, 1988), cat. no. 15 = 'Kleopatra' (Mainz, 1989), pp. 106-107 ;
B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press), p.24;
H. Coutts, 'Gold of the Pharaohs' (Edinburgh, 1988), p. 91 ;
K. Myśliwiec, 'Royal Portraiture of the Dynasties XXI-XXX' (Mainz am Rhein, 1988), p. 85;
C.Favard-Meeks in P. Brissaud & C. Zivie-Coche (eds), 'Tanis : travaux récents sur le tell Sân el-Hagar : Mission française des fouilles de Tanis, 1987-1997' (1998), p.110;
'La Gloire d’Alexandrie : 7 mai-26 juillet 1998' [exhibition catalogue] (Paris, 1998), p.188 .
S. Walker & P. Higgs [eds.], 'Cleopatra: Regina d'Egitto' (Milan, 2000), pp. 88-89 [I.91] = S. Walker & P. Higgs [eds.], 'Cleopatra of Egypt' (London, 2001), pp. 76-77 ;
P. E. Stanwick, 'Portraits of the Ptolemies : Greek kings as Egyptian pharaohs' (Austin, 2002), pp. 22, 37 [fig. 206];
S. Albersmeier, Untersuchungen zu den Frauenstatuen des ptolemäischen Ägypten (Mainz am Rhein, 2002), 72 n. 429; 98 n. 562; 198 n. 215; pl. 86c.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006-2007, Frankfurt, Museum Alter Plastic, Egypt, Greece and Rome
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number