Relief of a mourning woman - ROM2018_16149_16


Relief of a mourning woman

Medium:Limestone, raised relief
Geography: Excavated at Saqqara, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1295 BC
Period: 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
48.1 x 33.6 cm
Object number: 955.79.1
Credit Line: This purchase was made possible with the support of the Reuben Wells Leonard Bequest Fund
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This fragment comes from a wall in the Saqqara tomb of Maya, the Treasurer of King Tutankhamun.

The inscription across the top of the piece reads from right to left: “The Osiris, Royal Scribe, Treasurer, Maya."

In this image, seven women, six young, one older, have come to mourn at Maya's funeral. They appear to be naked, having torn their clothes in grief.  Each wears either her own carefully plaited hair, or a long wig.  The artist has distinguished their hairstyles.  They raise their arms gracefully over their heads, each hand carefully carved with elegant and eloquent long fingers. One woman kneels to throw sand or dust onto her hair.

Maya's artists could have seen such scenes carved onto the walls of tombs from the Late Old Kingdom at Sakkara, such a Mereruka's, but he has improved on those models, and given these women a roundness and naturalness that marks the work as late Eighteenth Dynasty.

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