Stela fragment with Horus and Hathor - ROM2018_16149_2


Stela fragment with Horus and Hathor

Geography: Probably Serabit el-Khadim, Sinai, Egypt
Date: c. 1295-1186 BC
Period: 19th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, New Kingdom
27.5 × 16.5 × 6.4 cm
Object number: 906.16.116
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This stele was carved on behalf of a steward by the name of Kherep, who was stationed at the turquoise mines of Serabit el Khadim during the Ramesside period. Kherep can be seen in the lower left corner of the stele, where, unfortunately, his figure and inscription were damaged when the fragile stele was broken in two at some time in the past three thousand years.

Serabit el Khadim was a location in the Sinai where a particularly rich vein of turquoise was mined by the Ancient Egyptians for over two thousand years. Expeditions of career soldiers and civil servants, along with conscripts, lived at the site in rough conditions for months at a time.

The most important deity at the site was Hathor, Lady of Turquoise, who can be seen on the right, identifiable by her crown of sun-disk and cow’s horns . Horus, who was sometimes considered to be her husband, and who was always a god of sovereignty, stands opposite her on the left side of the stele. Though the break destroyed part of the inscription between the two divine figures, enough remains to name them both and to ask for their favour for Kherep.  Although he does not say so, his main prayer was probably to be able to get back home to Egypt, safe and sound. The particular form of Horus to whom the stele was dedicated came from the town of Heben, nowadays called Sawiet el-Meitin. Heben was the capital of the 16th Nome of Upper Egypt, the Oryx Nome. If this was Kherep’s native town, he was indeed a long way from home.

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