EGYPT, Sedment, Tombs 56 and 60
Mortuary stela of Nebuhotep
New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX, reign of Ramesses II, 1279-1213 BC limestone
Presented by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1921 (3415-D3)
This stela comes from a family tomb that contained a variety of inscribed objects including two stone coffins (sarcophagi) and a stela, which showed it belonged to high officials of the reign of Ramesses II. The sarcophagi belonged to Rahotep, a vizier (Chief Minister) who is mentioned on this stela, and Parahotep, mayor of the residence city of Paramesses.
The figure on the right in the upper register can be identified as the vizier, presumably Rahotep, from his distinctive garment, a long, white linen robe. Around his neck is a chain that would have supported a heart-shaped amulet, also a symbol of the vizier’s office. These are also the insignia of kingship in Egypt. The throne Osiris is upon a pedestal in the shape of the word ma’at, Egyptian for the concept of cosmic order and harmony. From the front of the pedestal sprouts an open, blue lotus flower, a symbol of resurrection, flanked by buds, all on stems. The flower supports the figures of the four sons of Horus, son of Osiris, who protect the internal organs removed during mummification. The inscriptions in the vertical columns are most illegible.
In the lower register Nebuhotep kneels with hands raised, again in adoration of Osiris. He wears an elaborately pleated linen garment, worn tightly around the hips and looser below, with a large flaring section at the front; the upper portion is diaphanous and has flaring sleeves. This, the bead collar and his ornate wig mark his high status he is barefoot. His name is written above is head, and the text in front of him offers praise to Osiris and requests offerings for the Ka(Life Force) of Nebuhotep, Temhotep, and the mayor and vizier Rahotep.