Wall tiles from the funerary apartments of king Djoser
reign of Djoser
ca. 2630–2611 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Saqqara, Djoser Pyramid precinct
h. 113 cm (44 1/2 in); w. 73.7 cm (29 in)
Rogers Fund, by exchange, 1948
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103
Djoser was the first king of Dynasty 3 at the beginning of the Old Kingdom. His Step Pyramid and the surrounding mostly solid dummy structures are the earliest preserved stone buildings in Egypt. They represent an attempt to create an eternal royal residence of durable materials for the afterlife.
Tiles mounted between sculpted limestone ledges decorated the walls of the galleries underneath Djoser's Step Pyramid and underneath a building in his complex called the Southern Tomb. The decoration was meant to imitate the reed matting that covered the walls of his palace.