Stela with man offering to Re-Harakhty, unfinished

Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130

Dating to the Kushite era, when Egypt was controlled by kings from south of Egypt, this round-topped stela depicts a male figure offering braziers of burning incense to the sun god Re-Harakhty. The head of the supplicant is shaved, perhaps indicating that he is a priest, and he wears a broad festival collar, arm and wrist bands, and a long kilt. On his feet are simple sandals. The god, whom he faces across an offering stand bearing a ritual vessel known as a nemset, is seated on a block throne atop a plaform with a slanted front edge, echoing the hieroglyph for maat, the proper cosmic order. Re-Harakhty is mummiform, holding the crook and flail of kingship in the hands which emerge from his tight wrappings. He has a falcon head surmounted by a sun disk with uraeus (rearing cobra), and a tripartite wig. At the top of the stela are wedjats, the eyes of the falcon god Horus, flanking a shen ring, symbol of eternity.

Empty blocks above the worshipper's head and between the two figures delineate the areas where the text would have been added had the stela been finished. It is thought that such stelae were pre-made, and the eventual owner's name added at the time of purchase. Re-Harakhty, a composite deity created by the merging of the ancient sun god, Re, with the falcon god Horus in his guise as protector of the two horizons (Har=Horus + akhty= two horizons), was a popular god during this era, featured on many such votive stelae.

Stela with man offering to Re-Harakhty, unfinished, Wood, gesso, paint

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