Relief fragment with king Khufu's cattle

Old Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103

These cattle with long, lyre-shaped horns are probably offerings for the funerary cult of Khufu. Such cattle were kept in herds that grazed in open grasslands in the Nile Delta or at the desert margin. The inscriptions over their backs mention the pharaoh's name but are otherwise difficult to translate; they seem to refer to outlying or foreign lands.

The austere but very sensitive style of relief carving and the gently rounded outlines, which let the figures blend beautifully with the background, are typical of Khufu's reign.

Relief fragment with king Khufu's cattle, Limestone

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