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Stela with the Gods Bes and Tutu

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Two powerful gods stand on either side of a table with offerings: Bes, shown brandishing a sword, and Tutu, depicted as a sphinx with a snakeheaded tail. The seven demons controlled by Tutu are pictured above him.

Reliefs on stelae such as this one were intended to placate the gods, keeping them in a favorable disposition. Alternately, placed in a temple, they served a votive function, expressing the donor’s gratitude for protection against illness and misfortune.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 332-30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 10 7/16 x 18 3/4 x 3 9/16 in., 47.4 lb. (26.5 x 47.7 x 9 cm, 21.5kg)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 58.98
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Stela with the Gods Bes and Tutu, 332-30 B.C.E. Limestone, 10 7/16 x 18 3/4 x 3 9/16 in., 47.4 lb. (26.5 x 47.7 x 9 cm, 21.5kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 58.98. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.58.98.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone stela in rather bold low relief, framed by two plant columns supporting a cavetto cornice decorated with winged sun disc flanked by uraei. The main representation shows a sphinx striding to the right. The sphinx's tail ends in a serpent's head and crosses over the left-hand column. In front of the sphinx, to the right, is an offering table on a high stand. Other food offerings are on the table top. Further to the right is a figure of Bes, in front view, with feather crown, a raised sword in his right hand and a scaled serpent in his left. Over the sphinx head is a small panel with an illegible incised line of text. To the left, in a separate panel, are seven male demons walking to the right. They hold an oblong object in the near hand hanging down. Their heads are: 1) crocodile, 2) bull, 3) lion, 4) baboon, 5) jackal, 6) ibex, 7) hare. They all have long striated wigs. The walking sphinx represents the god Tutu (Tithoes). Condition: Good; somewhat chipped and discolored in several places.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
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