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Stela of Penamun

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

In the upper register of this funerary stela, a man named Penamun, his wife, and one of their sons present offerings to the god Osiris, behind whom stands the goddess Isis. In the middle register, Penamun and his wife sit before a table of offerings. Facing them are a lector priest, a professional singer in an attitude of mourning, and one of their daughters. In the bottom register another man and his wife receive offerings from their children. The registers are meant to suggest different realms of existence. The upper register is the realm of the netherworld, the middle that of the tomb, and the bottom that of the living.

MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1334–1295 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 25 15/16 × 18 1/16 × 3 1/8 in., 82 lb. (65.9 × 45.9 × 7.9 cm, 37.19kg)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One round-topped funerary stela of the man Penamun and his wife Mutemwiya. At the top of the stela Penamun is shown before Osiris and a goddess. He strides forward towards the seated god with offerings of formal bouquets as does his wife. Close behind follows a retainer carrying a duck and more floral offerings. The second register shows Penamun seated with his wife before and offering table laden with foodstuffs. On the opposite side of the table and approaching is seen a priest with censer, his arm raised toward the couple followed by two mourning women. The third register repeats the above scene, except that a female offerings bearer leads the way for two men. The first carries a young animal across his shoulders, the second papyrus and a vase. The last figure is that of a woman carrying a formal bouquet. All of the above is executed in shallow sunk relief. Registers of hieroglyphs fill all the extant space between and above the figurative representations. Condition: The top of the stela has suffered much damage, the registers of hieroglyphs appearing there having been chipped away to the level of the figures. The top of the goddess on the left has been damaged, her crown has been lost and the figure of Osiris likewise. The figure of the retainer on the far right lacks a head; the woman in front has been damaged by a circular chip in the side of the head, extending over part of the face. A shallow flake has removed a strip of surface running through the goddess' body and continuing onto the throne of the figure of Osiris. A small chip is missing from just in front of the figure of Penamun. The second register has fared better, but a large gouge has been taken out of the right hand side (partially obliterating the figure of the second mourner) by a chisel. Three strokes are visible. Some iron staining is visible at the far right, as well as left. The bottom register is marred by a large loss, directly below the figure of Penamun, in the form of a chip. The offering bearers have been damaged. The bearer with the young animal has two circular depressions resembling drill-holes, over his lower body; some iron staining is noted here, also. A second large chip is seen beneath the final bearer on the far right. The borders of the stela are much chipped all round. No trace of gesso or color is noted.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Stela of Penamun, ca. 1334–1295 B.C.E. Limestone, 25 15/16 × 18 1/16 × 3 1/8 in., 82 lb. (65.9 × 45.9 × 7.9 cm, 37.19kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1486E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1486E_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1486E_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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