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Votive Bed

Period:
Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty:
Dynasty 22
Date:
ca. 945–715 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Tomb MMA 825, MMA excavations, 1929–30
Medium:
Pottery, paint
Dimensions:
L. 27 cm (10 5/8 in); h. 24 cm (9 7/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1931
Accession Number:
31.3.109
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126
Three votive beds (31.3.108, 31.3.109 and a third in Cairo) and a small stela (31.3.110) were excavated in MMA tomb 825 at Deir el Bahri. These are very well-preserved examples of a type of object that appeared only in Thebes between the 22nd and 26th Dynasties. A number of recent studies of the type and of MMA 31.3.108 in particular have revealed much about their significance and about their many interesting implications for understanding non-temple religious practices and artistic provision for the same.
The decoration of these objects includes frontal standing nude females in boats with figureheads like sacred barks, Bes figures, and particular vegetation; some other examples include a kneeling female playing a lute. The decoration carries with it significations for female fertility, conception, and birth. However, it also seems likely that votive beds are associated with the Egyptian New Year festival, and the myth of the return of the absent goddess and the flood. This is indicated, for example, by the crown worn by the female figure, which is one usually worn by Anukis, a goddess linked to the return of the flood. The origin of the particular bed-form and the use of the objects are hardly clear, but based on analysis of find spots it has been suggested that the objects are associated with the coterie of temple women around the god Amun and the God’s Wives.
Museum excavations, 1929-1930. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1931.

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