This stela caught my eye in the Cairo Museum (acc. no.: JE45626) because of the vibrant colours and the rather unusual postures of the figures for a piece of Egyptian art. It dates to the early Middle Kingdom, so around 4000 years ago.

I found a paper by Lucas Baqué-Manzano about this stela which discusses the figures and what the scene means. On the right is Hepyt, the wife of the deceased who seems to be presenting the offerings. And the other three are her husband Intef and his parents Amenemhat and Iy.

Which way round the men are appears to be a matter of debate, but Baqué-Manzano suggests that it is recently deceased Intef on the right, meeting his previously deceased parents in an illustration of one of Coffin Texts.

CT146 calls itself “Assembling a Man’s Family for Him in the Necropolis”, and this is what Baqué-Manzano thinks is going on here. The joyous reunion of a family in the afterlife, with plenty of food.

Stela of Amenemhat. From Tomb TT R4, Assasif. Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11, c.2135-1994 BCE. Acc. No.: JE45626

Baqué-Manzano’s paper can be found here:

See the photo on my photo site:

Jigsaw puzzles:

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