New Kingdom, early Dynasty XVIII (1540-1479 BC)
Provenance: Thebes, Dra Abu el-Naga, later Drovetti Collection, 1824
Inv. Nr. C.1638
This round-topped stele was once a funerary monument for Djehutinefer (whose nickname is Seshu) and his wife Benbu. They are depicted in a wafer-thin raised relief seated on fine chairs with lion paw feet, with their small daughter standing at their side before an offering table piled high with food stuffs (a duck is evident above the bread loaves). The protective wedjat-eyes symbolising the restored eye of the falcon god Horus, and the shen-sign (all that the sun encircles) and the cup (for the verb ‘to unite’) at the top of the lunette are also in raised relief. The couple are elegantly dressed, he with an intricately layered trapezoid wig, wearing a fine white see-through tunic under a heavier white kilt. Djehutinefer holds a sceptre of office. Bembu is also dressed in a white tunic that is revealing at the breast and she affectionately embraces her husband. She wears a lotus blossom (symbol of rebirth) circlet to hold her long wig in place. As her arms are engaged, her young daughter Neferty (with the side lock of a child and on a smaller scale) raises the customary lotus blossom to her nose. The scene takes place in a framed ‘window’. The texts above and below are executed in a less labour-intensive sunk relief. Listed numbers of offerings are sculpted in a raised block over the offering table. The two main texts compose a prayer offering to Harakhte and Osiris in order that the ba-soul of the deceased might enter heaven and the body of deceased may enter the Afterlife.