Stela of Four Women

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 13
ca. 1802–1650 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Lower Asasif, Tomb MMA 741, MMA excavations, 1935–36
Limestone, paint
H. 48.3 cm (19 in.); W. 26.5 cm (10 7/16 in.); D. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 110
The inscription on this false-door stela lists four female individuals, who must correspond to the two adult women and two girls depicted in the scene below. The woman standing on the far right is probably Tekhnefer, born of Sitinheret, judging from the matching orientation of the figure and hieroglyphs that name Tekhnefer. The other adult standing on the far left is probably Intefankh, born of Hedjeret, the first personnel listed in the text above. As the names are generally listed in the order of age, the taller and therefore older girl standing in front of the pile of offerings is probably Mesutnetjer-tekhnefer, born of Dedetnub, and the younger girl behind her is probably Tanetib-neferseresu(?), born of Dedetnub. Sharing the same mother, who is not depicted on the stela, the two girls are apparently sisters, but their relationship to the two adults is unknown.
Rendered in sunk relief, all four figures wear long sheath dresses. The two adult women have long hair, painted blue. The two girls have shaved their heads, painted red, except for single locks of hair with curled ends. Tekhnefer and Mesutnetjer-tekhnefer hold water lily blossoms up to their faces, and Tanetib-neferseresu(?) holds the same type of flower in her pendant hand, while Intefankh supports the latter’s arm. The pile of food offerings consists of bread loaves, various cuts of meat, green onions, and a bunch of grapes on a mat, as well as three pottery vessels containing beverages.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1935–1936. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1936.

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. 334, fig. 222.