Stela depicting divine triads - 910.35.11_1


Stela depicting divine triads

Medium:Sandstone, sunk relief
Geography: Probably from Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt
Date: c. 332-30 BC
Period: Ptolemaic Period
91.5 x 44.5 cm
Object number: 910.35.11
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Two groups of three deities standing facing right are depicted on this unfinished limestone stela. In the upper register is depicted a triad of the Theban deities Amun, Mut and Khonsu, which suggest that the stela was from the area of modern Luxor or ancient Thebes. Facing left one can just see the image of the king making offerings to the triad. On the lower register is depicted a second triad consisting of the falcon-headed Ra-horakhty with a sun disc on his head, the human-headed Shu topped by a single vertical feather, and then the lion-headed goddess Tefnut. The spaces for the hieroglyphic texts to identify the figures have been marked out, but the names have not been carved. Only the attributes and context of the triads enable us to identify the deities involved. The figure of the king is missing in the lower register, as the entire lower right hand corner of the stela has broken off.

The vertical round-topped stela is a form frequently found in Ptolemaic Egypt. The style of the figures with their tall,  slender bodies is also indicative of a Ptolemaic date. Along the top of the stela are remains of the pt-sign, the hieroglyph for sky indicating the arch of heaven. Below this is a winged sun-disc with pendant snakes wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. These crowns identify the snakes with Wadjyt and Nekhbet, the protective goddesses  respectively of Lower and Upper Egypt. Each snake goddess holds a feather-fan or  'flabellum'  that passes through a 'shen' ring, which symbolizes eternity. Below this is a horizontal register with nine unfinished cartouches alternating with falcons facing right, with open wings (S.B. Shubert).

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