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Stela of Steward Ptahemsai

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Wealthy Egyptians sometimes commissioned unique stelae with representations specific to their personal needs and wishes, but most people could not afford such custom-made funerary equipment. Instead, they selected uninscribed stock pieces with standard representations of men, women, and offerings and had the names of individual family members added after purchase. The owner of this stela held a position comparable to that of a modern butler or house manager. His socioeconomic position suggests that this example was an “off-the-rack” model.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1876–1759 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY middle Dynasty 12 to late Dynasty 12
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 20 1/4 x 11 13/16 x 3 1/8 in. (51.5 x 30 x 8 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Tall rectangular limestone stela belonging to the Steward Ptahsoker. The inscribed surface is surround by a raised frame, the top part of which is inscribed . The large inscribed surface is divided into five registers. The top register (h. 3.3 cm.) bears an inscription. The second register (h. 10.3 cm.) shows Ptahsoker seated at a table. Facing him is a squatting male figure holding his hand to his breast (all the squatting figures on this stela hold one hand to their breast). Above this figure is the name. To the right of this man is a squatting woman, facing right towards a seated man who faces her from the opposite side of a table. Above her is an inscription. In the third register is a seated man facing right towards two squatting women. To the right are two squatting men facing each other. In the fourth register are, at the right, two squatting women facing each other. To the right a squatting man faces right towards a squatting woman. The bottom register has a large table holding offerings flanked on each side by a man with outstretched arms. Both men are labeled with an inscription. Technique is a poor sunk relief. Condition: Upper right corner missing; all surfaces scratched.
    CAPTION Stela of Steward Ptahemsai, ca. 1876–1759 B.C.E. Limestone, 20 1/4 x 11 13/16 x 3 1/8 in. (51.5 x 30 x 8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1345E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.1345E_erg2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.37.1345E_erg2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 11/26/2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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