Egyptian / Stela of Mentuwoser / ca. 1955 B.C.E.Egyptian
Stela of Mentuwoser
ca. 1955 B.C.E.

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Creator Nationality: African; North African; Egyptian
Creator Name-CRT: Egyptian
Title: Stela of Mentuwoser
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: -195
Creation End Date: -195
Creation Date: ca. 1955 B.C.E.
Object Type: Sculpture
Classification Term: Monuments
Materials and Techniques: Painted limestone
Dimensions: 19 5/8 x 41 in. (49.8 x 104.1 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 12.184
Credit Line: Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1912

This rectangular stone slab, called a stela, honors an official named Mentuwoser. Clasping a piece of folded linen in his left hand, he sits at his funeral banquet, ensuring that he will always receive food offerings and that his family will honor and remember him forever. To the right of Mentuwoser, his son summons his spirit. His daughter holds a lotus, and his father offers a covered dish of food and a jug that, given its shape, contained beer.

To show clearly each kind of food being offered, the sculptor arranged the images on top of the table vertically. The feast consists of round and conical loaves of bread, ribs and a hindquarter of beef, a squash, onions in a basket, a lotus blossom, and leeks. The low-relief carving is very fine. The background was cut away only about one-eighth of an inch. Within the firm, clear outlines, the sculptor subtly modeled the muscles of Mentuwoser's arms and legs and the shape of his jaw and cheeks. The chair legs and the calf's head have also been carefully formed. The hieroglyphic inscriptions in sunk relief state that in the seventeenth year of his reign King Senwosret I presented the stela to Mentuwoser in appreciation of his loyal services. Mentuwoser's deeds are described at length. He was steward, granary official, and overseer of all manner of domestic animals, including pigs. He is described as a good man who looked after the poor and buried the dead. Senwosret's throne name, Kheper-Ka-Re, appears within a cartouche in the middle of the top line.

The stela was erected in the temple precinct of Osiris at Abydos. Mentuwoser's image and the prayers on the stela were meant to bring him both rebirth and sustenance at the annual festivals honoring Osiris.

AMICA ID: MMA_.12.184
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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