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Funerary Stela of Thenet

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Both of these stelae depict a woman entering the afterlife and approaching or worshipping a god or gods who control entrance to the next world. Both women have yellow skin representing the golden skin of a goddess, thereby indicating that they have resumed their original gender after rebirth and entered the afterlife as women. Gender transformation has ended for them.

Details of these stelae reveal the gods who control entrance to the next world. In Stela of the Lady of the House, Hery-ib-Neith, the deceased is led by the god Thoth, who guides her into the presence of the other gods. Here she meets Rehorakhty (a form of Horus) as well as the goddesses Isis and Nephthys. Isis raised her son Horus with the help of her sister Nephthys. This scene suggests that the deceased, too, is tended by these goddesses after her rebirth.

Stela of the Lady of the House and Singer, Thenet, depicts another step in the entrance process: Thenet raises her hands in worship to Rehorakhty.
MEDIUM Wood, stucco, pigment
  • Reportedly From: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 945–712 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22 (probably)
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 10 1/8 x 8 1/4 in. (25.7 x 21 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented, reportedly from Thebes, Egypt; by 1852, collected in Egypt by Henry Abbott of Cairo, Egypt and New York, NY; 1859, purchased from Henry Abbott by the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; September 1948, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Round-topped painted wooden stela inscribed for a Chantress of Amun. The owner is shown, to the right, facing left towards Re-Horakhty. Between the two figures is a table with offerings. Above the two figures are inscriptions. Condition: The stela is composed of two wooden planks, the greater representing some ¾ of the total width. The smaller is dowelled to the larger. The seam was filled and covered, as was the rest of the piece, by a layer of gesso, upon which the painting was executed. The body of Harakhte is built up by means of an underlying layer of blue frit; this was also apparently used whenever a dark green color was desired (i.e. the topmost border; the offering table). The seam mentioned above has now opened, due to contraction and expansion. The left hand margin of the piece has also suffered major paint losses, especially in the figure of Harakhte. There is also paint loss at the apex of the stela. The white ground and some of the reds have been practically rubbed away-most especially the background. Once gessoed on the edges-almost all is lost, save a small patch on the upper right hand corner. The colors have remained fairly brilliant-the dark black of the wig, the red brown of the sun disk, the dark and light greens and the lighter pink under the base line are all in good condition. The stela is unvarnished, but bears a modern coating of polyvinyl-acetate.
    CAPTION Funerary Stela of Thenet, ca. 945–712 B.C.E. Wood, stucco, pigment, 10 1/8 x 8 1/4 in. (25.7 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1385E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1385E_PS4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1385E_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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