Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Stela of King Intef II Wahankh

First Intermediate Period
Dynasty 11
reign of Intef II
ca. 2108–2059 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, El Tarif possibly; (none assigned
H. 44.5 × W. 46 × Th. 11.5 cm, 29.8 kg (17 1/2 × 18 1/8 × 4 1/2 in., 65.8 lb.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
Horus Wahankh Intef II was the third king of Dynasty 11, a period when Egypt was not unified under one ruler. Intef II engaged in numerous battles with the rival rulers of Heracleopolis (the capital of the northern part of the country) and eventually secured control over southern Egypt, from Abydos to Aswan. This laid the foundation for the reunification of the country under King Mentuhotep II (07.230.2; 26.3.29)

This stele was probably one of a number of small stela set up in the courtyard of his tomb at Thebes. The king presents a bowl of beer and a jug of milk to the god Re and the goddess Hathor. He is wearing a minutely pleated kilt, heavy broad collar and elaborately curled wig. The figure is well carved in very high raised relief. The text of the stele includes a request to Re for protection during the night and a hymn of praise to Hathor as well as a prayer for mortuary offerings.

The pharaoh’s name is given in the column of text in front of his hands:

Horus "Enduring of Life," revered before Osiris, Son of Re Intef the Great, born of Neferu.

Intef is shown offering Beer and Milk, and the label in front of him indicates that he is Presenting milk to Re and beer to Hathor, and saying what they love. The last part of this label refers to the text of the stela proper, which consists of two hymns meant to be said (or sung) as the offerings are presented.

Horizontal: Hymn to Re

[An "offering that the king gives" of Osiris: an invocation-offering of a thousand bread and beer], a thousand cattle and fowl, a thousand alabaster and linen, a thousand of every good thing: for the one revered before Re-Atum in his evening hours and revered before Hathor [who] s[uckles the morning]. (2) He says:

Will you proceed, father Re, before you have commended me? Will the sky cover you before you have commended me? Commend me to the night and those who are in it. Then [I] will [be] found [among those who ho]nor (3) you, Re — who worship you in your emergence, who endure from your offerings, who join the night, who traverse the depths of night through your commendation, Re [ . . . (4) . . . ]. I am your representative, for you have made me lord of life, for whom there is no death.

Commend me to the morning hours: then they will spread their ward over me. Commend me to [the morning: then] (5) it will put its ward around me. I am one suckled in the morning, I am one suckled in the morning hours — who was born in the night and whose life was made [in the depths of night, who sets] (6) fear of himself in the racks of back-turned horns. Protection is around me from the blood-red of your eye, and I am found meeting you [with rejoicing].

Vertical: Hymn to Hathor

O you officials west of the sky, O you gods west of the sky, O you on the western (2) shores of the sky, who rejoice at meeting Hathor, who love to see (3) the grandeur of her beauty! Let me know her character, so that I may say beside her that I am elated at (4) seeing her, while my two hands (motion) "Come to me! Come to me!", my body speaks, and my two lips repeat pure songs (5) to Hathor — millions and myriads of songs (as follows):

"Since you love song, millions of songs for your life force shall be in all your places. (6) I, in fact, am the one who makes the morning awaken song to Hathor every day, at whatever hour she wishes. May your heart be content with (7) the song! Proceed happy, in peace, endowed with life and joy, together with Horus, who loves you, who feeds with you from your offerings, who eats with you from your food. May you assign me to it (as well) every day."

James P. Allen 2007
Purchased from Mohammed Mohassib in Luxor, 1913

Winlock, Herbert E. 1915. "The Theban Necropolis in the Middle Kingdom." In American Journal of Semitic Languages, Vol. 32, No. 1 (October), p. 17.

Winlock, Herbert E. 1947. Rise and Fall of the Middle Kingdom in Thebes. New York: Macmillan Co., pl. 4.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 152, fig. 90.

Arnold, Dieter and Dorothea Arnold 2015. "A New Start from the South: Thebes during the Eleventh Dynasty." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 16.

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