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Stele were slabs of stone or wood painted or inscribed with religious texts. Stele were used in Egypt from early times, with the earliest funerary examples dating to the first dynasty.

The Stele shown here are of both the wood and stone types, and were placed in temples or tombs. in most cases they were messages to the gods telling how devoted the donor was or asking for some sort of blessing.


This fragment of a Stele was excavated by the Scottish Egyptologist A.H. Rhind during his time at Thebes and is now in the N.M.S.. It shows Nimenkhamun making an offering to the falcon headed god Re-Herakthy.

Nimenkhamun was 'a priestly official of the Divine Consort Shepemwapet'.




These two Stele are made of wood covered with a thin plaster called gesso. This was the same method of construction used for many of the anthropoid coffins in the N.M.S..

The two Stele from the late period show the house mistresses Ankhesiset and Djedankhesiset worshiping the sun god. Note how well the artist has captured the lightness of the ladies robes.


This Stele is constructed from limestone, which was then carved and painted. It was found in the tomb of the Inspector of Priests Ty.

On the table in front of Ty there are eight slices of bread, with a wine jar and a calf's head below.

The bottom image again shows Ty, this time holding a staff and baton. The inscription consists of a prayer to Osiris asking for supplies.

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The British Museum Dictionary
of Ancient Egypt


Egyptian treasures
from the Cairo Museum