Relief from the North Wall of a Chapel of Ramesses I

New Kingdom, Ramesside

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 129

Displayed in Gallery 129 are reliefs from three walls of the chapel of Ramesses I at Abydos. This monarch came to the throne as an elderly man; this chapel was completed by his son and successor, Seti I.

On the north wall, Ramesses I is depicted as a deceased king who has become divinized and identified with the god Osiris, ruler of the dead. The king is seated, with one hand stretched out toward a small offering table, with piles of food and drink to the right. Above is a list of offerings, now partially lost. This is followed by a long series of spells, originally from the Pyramid Texts (Old Kingdom, ca. 2400 B.C.), designed to ensure that "the mouth of the Son of Re, Ramesses, shall not thirst, nor shall it hunger." The small figures to the lower right perform offering rituals. There would once have been a figure of Seti I leading these rituals; this is now lost. The king's chair rests on a platform whose central support takes the shape of the hieroglyph for "unite," around which two Nile gods tie the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt (the papyrus and lotus plants). Additional Nile gods bring vases of fresh water symbolizing "life, all happiness, all food, all provisions."

Relief from the North Wall of a Chapel of Ramesses I, Limestone

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