Stela depicting husband and wife making offering - ROM2004_1137_3


Stela depicting husband and wife making offering

Medium:Limestone, painted
Geography: Excavated at Armant, Egypt
Date: c. 2181-1985 BC
Period: 1st Intermediate Period or early Middle Kingdom
48.3 x 37.8 cm
Object number: 935.20.58
Credit Line: Gift of Sir Robert Mond
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This private stele from the First Intermediate Period lacks the elegance of Egyptian courtly works, but its simplicity and naivte are very appealing.  A man and woman stand in front of a table of offerings.  The lady holds onto the arm of the men. His forward hand, raised toward the offerings, has been given an added interest and charm by a recarving of the fingers, which now seem to be in motion, as if waving to the viewer.

The usual offering formula was written above their heads in ink, and can no longer be easily read.  According to Mond, the excavator, and Fairman, the translator, it reads: "An offering which the King gives to Osiris, Lord of Busiris, Great Gpd, Lord of [Abydos] that he may give 'coming-forth-at-the-voice, offerings of [bread, beer], cattle, [birds, clothing] . . .  every good and pure thing, for the revered one, Mniw, . . . (?) born of Renef-ankhu, his mother . . . "  It may be that, rather than representing a man and his nameless wife, the image is of Menyew and his mother, Renef-ankhu. 

Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society
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