- Museum number
- Object: The 'Crossword' Stela
The 'Crossword' Stela of Peser: a square limestone stela, now badly damaged, with an incised frieze of deities along the top; these worship a figure of the goddess Mut, which is now lost. The area below is covered with a grid, each square of which contains a group of hieroglyphic signs originally filled with blue pigment. This 'crossword' is sixty-seven squares wide and eighty squares deep, but may originally have been eighty by eighty.
The top horizontal line of text reads from right to left and provides the title for the rest of the inscription, which is a Middle Egyptian hymn to Mut, as well as indicating how the stela is to be read.
Height: 112 centimetres
Width: 84.50 centimetres
Depth: 11.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- A few squares of text show the principles (vertical lines nos 38—42; horizontal lines nos 1-4).
Horizontally this reads:
... great of radiancy, who illumines ...
.. . strength; (her) eye, it illumines ...
... as the illuminator of her(?); the Two Lands and the Otherworld ...
... in the presence of the sun-god who sees ...
while vertically it reads:
... great of strength in the presence of...
... radiant; the eye which illumines the face . ..
... the sun-god illumines ...
. . . the sun-god illumines for her ...
.. . She has illumined the Two Lands early .. .
The 'game' does not lie in filling in words left blank, as in a modern crossword, but in the skill needed to compose and then to read the hymn. Verbal wordplay was a common stylistic device in hymns, and this is a graphic extension of the same principle.
B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' II (Oxford, 1974), 270;
H.M. Stewart, 'A crossword hymn to Mut', 'Journal of Egyptian Archaeology' 57 (1971), 87-104;
L.Troy,'Mut enthroned', in J. van Dijk (ed.), 'Studies on Ancient Egypt in Honour of Herman te Velde' (Groningen, 1997), 301-15, esp. 301-6;
K.A. Kitchen, 'Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated translations' 6 (Oxford, Blackwell Press), 288.
- Not on display
- fair - repaired and conserved
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BS.194 (Birch Slip Number)