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False Door Stela of Lady Djefatka

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Egyptian tombs often included false doors to mark the place where visitors could present their offerings for the deceased. This false door was dedicated to the lady Djafetka by her daughter, Hatkau. The uppermost register depicts Djafetka sitting before an offering table opposite her husband, Tjesu. At the bottom, on either side of the image of the door, the couple appear again receiving offerings from their children. In both representations Djefatka occupies the most important place as the stela's owner.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Possible Place Made: Abydos, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2195–1979 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 7 to Dynasty 11
    PERIOD First Intermediate Period to Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 25 3/16 x 15 15/16 x 4 1/2 in., 100 lb. (64 x 40.5 x 11.4 cm, 45.36kg)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 86.226.29
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Rectangular limestone stela in the form of a false door. The piece is inscribed for the Lady Djefatka. Representations and inscriptions are carved in shallow sunk relief. At the top are two lines of inscriptions. The sides of the stela are irregularly rounded, and the top of the first line of text is carved, in part, on the rounded upper edge of the stela. Below the two lines of inscription is a horizontal panel decorated with a representation of the Lady and of a man who is identified as an “overseer of the Army”. The man is seated at the right of a table and the woman is seated on the left. Above and between them is an inscription. This panel is flanked, on each side, by a horizontal panel in which is a representation of a female figure who stands facing inwards towards the main panel. Below these panels are represented the jambs of the door and door proper. On the drum of the door is an inscription. The bolt of the door is represented. On the right jamb is represented a male figure who stands, facing inwards, holding a staff and scepter. Before him is a small figure who offers to him a duck. Inscriptions identify both figures. On the left jam is represented the lady Djefatka standing, facing inwards, with a lotus held to her nose. A smaller male figure offers incense to her. Inscriptions accompany the representations. The two panels and the jambs are framed on the two sides of the stela by two-dimensional representations of torus moldings. Condition: Large chip in lower left corner; sides and rear rough; traces of modern blue paint (?) in upper and lower right.
    CAPTION False Door Stela of Lady Djefatka, ca. 2195–1979 B.C.E. Limestone, 25 3/16 x 15 15/16 x 4 1/2 in., 100 lb. (64 x 40.5 x 11.4 cm, 45.36kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.226.29. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.226.29_view1_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 86.226.29_view1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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