Raised relief fragment - 910.34.17_1


Raised relief fragment

Geography: Excavated at the temple of Nebhepetre Montuhotep, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt
Date: c. 2055-2004 BC
Period: Reign of Mentuhotep II, 11th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom
10.8 x 11.1 x 6.8 x 3.7 cm
Object number: 910.34.17
Not on view

Many priestesses and royal wives of Nebhepetre Montuhotep were buried in the platform and forecourt of his temple, Akh-Isut, at Deir el Bahari.  Six of these ladies, with titles usually translated as "Unique royal favourite" and "Priestess of Hathor" had been honoured with shrines.   The shrines were commemorative structures which identified the associated tombs so that rituals could be enacted for these ladies.  The shrines were made of limestone, carved in part to resemble wooden doors and other architectural elements.  The front of each shrine was decorated with images of the ladies in company of the king, and of servants bringing offerings, often in the form of milk, to them. Various renovations of the temple separated these shrines slightly from the shafts which led to their burial chambers where remains of their sarcophagi, textiles, and even mummies were found. 

The shrine of Ashayet has been partially reconstructed in the Egyptian Gallery of the Royal Ontario Museum.  This piece shows a fragment of the architectural framework of the shrine.  The checkerboard pattern, carved in fine low relief, may represent a woven basketry element of the original decoration.

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