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Double-Sided Stela of the Priest Amenyseneb

Middle Kingdom

Not on view

This object is not part of The Met collection. It was in the Museum for a special exhibition and has been returned to the lender.

Amenyseneb is shown raising his arms before an ankh (life) sign. As "controller of the phyle of Abydos," he probably oversaw the monthly rotation of the priesthood engaged in the Osiris cult. He is known from two other stelae, one of which records a major renovation of the Osiris temple. The open top of the ankh sign was likely intended to provide Amenyseneb and his family, depicted below, with a magical view toward the annual Osiris procession.
Unusually, Amenyseneb’s stela is carved on two sides. The reverse contains six registers with various scenes of food production and preparation. Such daily-life motifs, borrowed from contemporaneous tomb walls, were meant to sustain the owner and his family in the afterlife. Some of the laborers depicted here are labeled "Asiatic," and a woman in the upper left has a distinctive foreign hairstyle, indicating the increasingly diverse nature of Egyptian society during the Middle Kingdom.

Double-Sided Stela of the Priest Amenyseneb, Limestone, paint

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