Stela and reliefs, of which this is a fragment of, were commonly used throughout Egyptian history. Richly decorated, in sunken or high relief, they would feature specific formulas, designed to lead the deceased through the underworld and bestow blessings on them. The most typical formula, known as the ‘ḥtp-di-nsw’ offering formula would have certainly featured and we can ascertain that this small panel detailed such blessings. Other scenes could depict the deceased surveying particular activities, known as watching scenes. The deceased would gaze over particular woks being done, from agricultural scenes to manufacturing. It was also common to see the elite carrying out activities, in particular hunting or fishing. Such scenes all indicated the prosperity and wealth of the deceased and his ability to provide in the offering scene. Stela were much more than just tomb markers but highlighted the accomplishments and blessings of their owner.
Egyptian Limestone Fragment with Hieroglyphs
A limestone Egyptian fragment with hieroglyphs in sunken relief. To the base of the small rectangular panel, a court official is depicted in raised relief wearing a shendyt kilt and broad necklace. His hair is cut short, framing his face, which faces left. His facial features are delicately rendered, with elongated eyes and narrow nose. Above his hear are a series of hieroglyphs, detailing the name of the owner. Beginning at the top is a circular sun, identified as re. Underneath is a large bird sign, most likely a quial chick, transliterated as ‘w’. To the left of the bird is an elongated hieroglyph, most likely a lasso sign and transliterated as ‘wꜣ‘. There are three rectangular strokes beneath the lasso and qual chick. These often appear on words ending in a ‘w’, as we see here.
The piece is mounted on a custom-made stand and the reverse is plain and undecorated.
Measurements of the fragment alone are: 12cm height by 6cm with by 3cm length.
Period: Late Period
Provenance: Acquired in February 1989 by R. Jacobson, Astarte Gallery, Britannia Hotel, London. By descent to his son M. Jacobson. Ancient Art acquired the pieces in 2023.
Condition: Very fine. Fragment of a larger piece.
|Dimensions||L 3.7 x W 6.5 x H 15 cm|
Reference: For similar figural depiction: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 23.3.803