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Grave Stela of Nehemes-Ra-tawy

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This painted stela represents the stela’s owner, Nehemes-Ra-tawy, offering to the gods Osiris and Re-Horakhty. Re-Horakhty, the solar deity, depicted as a falcon with a red sun disk on its head, was believed to be reborn daily with the help of Osiris, the god of the Underworld. Together, the two gods assisted in the rebirth of Nehemes-Ra-tawy. The standard offering prayer below the image was meant to provide her spirit with all necessities in the afterlife.
CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Reportedly From: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 760-525 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 25 to Dynasty 26
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period to Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 10 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 2 1/2 in., 13 lb. (26.4 x 21.3 x 6.4 cm, 5.9kg)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Round-topped stela in painted limestone of the lady Nhm.s r’.t3wy. The stela is divided into three registers, each separated from the next by a border of alternating red and white rectangles, separated from one another by a white square halved vertically by a black line. The whole is bordered in black lines. The exterior border of the stela consists of a red band, a thin black line, a white band, a band identical to that which divides the registers, another white band edged within by a thin black line. A painted Behedite occupies the whole of the cintre. The wings are outlined and detailed in black and the disc is painted red. Two uraei descend from the disc. The next register consists of three vignettes. At the left stands Re-Horakhty with Osiris behind him, both facing the center. The former is outlined in black, surmounted by a disc painted red. The latter is outlined in black, his mummiform figure painted red. Separated from this vignette by a single column of hieroglyphs is the scene of an offering table bearing a jar and a lotus. Two tall jars flank the table. The vignette at the far right, separated from the center by three columns of hieroglyphs, shows the owner with hands raised in the pose of adoration. She wears a tri-partite wig and an ankle-length garment which bears a double-border in black. The garment covers her upper arms and hangs free from the elbows. She is wearing a wsh-collar outlined by two black bands. Condition: Generally good. The bottom corners are chipped and the paint has faded and flaked away in places, particularly on the upper part of the stela.
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