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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Stela of Dedu

Middle Kingdom
end of Dynasty 11 – beginning of Dynasty 12
ca. 2000–1952 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Courtyard CC 41, Tomb R 8, Burials A x, MMA excavations, 1915–16
Limestone (indurated), paint
H. 38 cm (14 15/16 in); W. 25 cm (9 13/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1916
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 114
The two lines of inscription at the top of this rectangular stela indicate that the monument belongs to a man named Dedu, born of Seni, and his wife Sitsobek, born of Nefret. In the center of the large scene, Dedu is shown striding forward over the ground line that is painted in three colors like a wall dado. He holds a long walking stick in one hand and carries a shorter stave with an upturned end in the other. His jet black hair is short, he sports a small goatee on his chin, and he wears an ornate broad collar, bracelets, and a short kilt with a triangular front panel. Sitsobek stands to the left, placing one hand on her husband’s shoulder and holding a mirror with a papyrus-shaped handle in the other. Her long tripartite hair is as black as Dedu’s, and she is shown wearing a green close-fitting dress with a single shoulder strap. A broad collar, bracelets, and anklets complete her attire. In front of Dedu and Sitsobek are food offerings, starting at the bottom with a large pottery beaker capped with a conical stopper and placed on a low stand, which is painted in a mottled pattern perhaps to imitate diorite. Above the vessel are a plucked duck and a green table laden with loaves of bread and various cuts of meat. Although the items appear to float vertically, they are meant to be seen as arranged side by side. The low flat raised relief style seen on this stela is characteristic of the period of transition between Dynasty 11 and Dynasty 12.
Museum excavations, 1915–16. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1916.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 331, fig. 219.

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