This stela makes up in enthusiasm for what it lacks in skill. It dates to Dynasty 11, and is still quite clearly in a “provincial” First Intermediate Period style, when local elites didn’t have access to the skilled craftsmen of the court of the Old Kingdom kings.

The couple seated on the right are Tetu and his wife Nefertjentet. In front of them their 5 daughters and two sons present offerings to them, including a table piled high with food. The text labelling each of their children is a mix of hieroglyphs and hieratic.

The artist has clearly had a bit of a tough time working out how to position Tetu and Nefertjentet on their chair. It’s obvious they’re supposed to be side by side, but is she on his left as her arm position suggests or his right as her legs suggest.

But for all its technical flaws I rather like it. It has a dynamism that some of the more formal art can lack.

Stela of Tetu and Nefertjentet. From debris east of TT279, el-Assasif. First Intermediate Period – Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11, c. 2124-1984 BCE. Acc. No.: 19.3.33

It’s now in the Met, acc. no.: 19.3.33

See it on my photo site:

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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