Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Relief with running troops

Old Kingdom
Dynasty 5
reign of Userkaf
ca. 2465–2458 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Pyramid Temple of Amenemhat I, MMA excavations, 1914
Limestone, paint
h. 85 cm (33 7/16 in); w. 127 cm (50 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1915
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103
Two lines of running soldiers wear aprons or kilts and carry sticks, bundled staves, and bows. At the end of each row runs a kilted figure, the one in the lower register carrying what appear to be bundled papyri. Remains of vertical rows of zigzag lines at the upper edge of the block indicate that, as was often the case with troop scenes, a nautical scene was associated, perhaps a royal voyage out to the temple of a god or goddess.
Within the overall organization, the arrangement of the soldiers is highly varied and intricate. Such complexity and layering of overlapping elements mark the relief style of the pharaoh Userkaf. The relief carving itself is fairly flat.
A few different inscriptions appear in this the relief. The first register opens with the text:
Sms n apr.w-nfr
Escort of the troops of recruits
A similar inscription appears in the second register:
Sms n s.wt Sps(.wt) pr aA
Escort of the (troops) of the August Places of the Palace
Another inscription in the second register identifies the person holding a long stick and a bundled papyrus with his name and title:
sAb aD mr jy-nfr.t
Senior Provincial Administrator, Iynofret
Finally, in a badly damaged inscription in the upper register, only a few signs are preserved:
Sms n...[n]sw[t]
Escort of...the [royal]

Niv Allon 2015
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

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