Relief of a goddess offering a palm rib

Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 125

This temple relief depicts a goddess raising her right hand behind what remains of a notched reed along the right margin of the block. The slightly raised position of the goddess's hanging left arm suggests that it was bent at the elbow so that her left hand grasped the reed. The palm branch, stripped of its leaves and notched to serve as a tally, was an Egyptian sign for "year," and gods were believed to present the reed, usually accompanied by either the sign for "one hundred thousand" or multiple jubilee signs, to the king as a promise of a long reign. Such presentations usually occurred in connection with birth, coronation-like ceremonies, or heb-sed festivals-jubilees traditionally celebrated after thirty years of rule.

Behind the goddess is a left-facing inscription that relates to a missing scene at the left. It refers to a king who is beloved of "Atum in the Hwt-Sr."

The lively style of the relief relates relatively well to the reliefs of Sheshonq III at Tell Umm Harb, ancient Mesdet, in the southeastern delta. His reign can thus serve as a provisional date for the work.

Relief of a goddess offering a palm rib, Limestone

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