Stela of the Woman Takhenemet
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Although painted wooden stelae are known from just before Dynasty XVIII (circa 1539–1295 B.C.), they did not become common until Dynasty XXI (circa 1070–945 B.C.), at the outset of the Third Intermediate Period (circa 1070–653 B.C.). Thereafter they were popular until the end of the Ptolemaic Period (305–30 B.C.).
These wooden stelae were often deposited inside the burial chamber out of public view. As on countless earlier stelae, the central scene usually shows the deceased making an offering to a deity, but on examples dating to the Third Intermediate Period the dead person makes the offering directly, without the assistance of another god.
Here Takhenemet pays homage to the hawk-headed solar god Re-Horakhty, who has the guise and costume of Osiris, lord of the underworld. The composite representation illustrates well the merging of religious beliefs that occurred in the Third Intermediate Period with regard to the solar and nether realms.
Wood, gesso, pigment
ca. 775-653 B.C.E.
Dynasty 25 (probably)
Third Intermediate Period
10 3/4 x 9 7/16 x 13/16 in. (27.3 x 23.9 x 2 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Egyptian. Stela of the Woman Takhenemet, ca. 775-653 B.C.E. Wood, gesso, pigment, 10 3/4 x 9 7/16 x 13/16 in. (27.3 x 23.9 x 2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 08.480.201. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.08.480.201_wwg8.jpg)
installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.08.480.201_wwg8.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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Is the woman on the right dead?
Yes she is! This stele would have likely come from her burial chamber. Takhenemet is making offerings to Re-Horakhty--a solar deity especially related to the rising sun and thus rebirth--here dressed as Osiris, king of the netherworld. We can tell that this stele was made in the Third Intermediate Period at the earliest because Takhenemet presents her offerings directly to Re-Horakhty with the assistance of another intermediary deity.
I think it's interesting how colorful it is. Were there ever any stone reliefs depicting the same theme?
Yes. Wooden stelae were only common from the Third Intermediate Period through the Ptolemaic Period.
Tell me more.
The stela of wood and plaster that you sent shows the solar god Re-Horakthy dressed as Osiris, king of the afterlife. Re-Horakthy is associated with the rising sun and rebirth. The woman, Takhenemet, who is dead in this image, is making an offering to the god.