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Goddess Seshat

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

Seshat, whose name means "female scribe," was the goddess of writing and record keeping. The Egyptians believed she had responsibility for recording regnal years and maintaining the House of Life, an archive containing Egypt's sacred books. This fragment—found at the Pyramid Temple of Senwosret I—was copied from a relief carved at least three hundred years earlier for Pepy II, the last great ruler of the Old Kingdom.

CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Excavated: Lisht, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1919-1875 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XII Dynasty, reign of Senwosret I
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 20 11/16 x 23 1/4 in. (52.5 x 59 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 52.129
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Egyptian. Goddess Seshat, ca. 1919-1875 B.C.E. Limestone, 20 11/16 x 23 1/4 in. (52.5 x 59 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 52.129. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 52.129_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone relief. In sunk relief, at right the goddess Seshat seated, recording on papyrus the royal booty. Epithet of goddess incised to left. Upper edge of relief preserves portion of register of kneeling captives. At left, incomplete column of seated foreigners or captives. Condition: Incomplete. Lower left and upper right corner lost; Upper register badly cracked. Lower right area also cracked. Surface weathered. No remains of paint.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (93%)
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