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Limestone stela: E.10.1922

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Object information

Titles

Limestone stela

Description

Only the upper section of this limestone stela is preserved, the lower section including the text is missing. There are visible fault lines in the stone. There are traces of black pigment on the surface, which is from the original painted stela. The base line can clearly be seen, with a second line visible roughly half way down the stela. In the left corner, close to the replacement that is now carved, are the remains of a bird wing, and two standing figures. The limestone was reused from an earlier relief stela, the outline of an earlier drawing in black ink is visible.

At the top, carved in low relief, is a winged sun-disk and two cobras. The main scene shows, from the viewer's left, the god Helios, identified by the crown of sun rays that he wears; the god Tutu in the form of a sphinx; and a female deity with a snake body, who has been identified as Isis in the form of a serpent, but is probably more specifically Isis Thermouthis. The stela shows a combination of Egyptian and foreign traditions. The form of altar, on which Isis Thermouthis sits, appears on Greek-style vases dating to the Ptolemaic period and the form that the goddess takes is reminiscent of Romano-Egyptian terracotta figurines. Tutu, however, is wholly Egyptian in execution. The god appears as a striding sphinx wearing the atef crown, which is decorated with two cobras. Helios stands uncomfortably with his right arm awkwardly twisted in order to hold the staff or sceptre placed behind him. This exact pose appears on a Ptolemaic stela now in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto showing Arsinoe II standing in front of an altar; her arm is positioned in the same way and it has been suggested that this was an attempt by the Egyptian artist to render a more naturalistic or Greek stance. Helios's face looks straight at the viewer, the torso is twisted in a three-quarter view and his feet are in profile. It seems likely that this scene was carved by an Egyptian artist who was attempting to copy a Greek model. It is also possible that the accompanying text was in Greek.

Measurements and weight

Depth: 9 cm
Height: 33 cm
Width: 40 cm

Relative size of this object

40 cm33 cm9 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Find spot

  • Egypt

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1922) by British School of Archaeology in Egypt

Dating

Roman
-50 - -200

School or Style

Egyptian

Components of the work

Front

Materials used in production

Limestone

Techniques used in production

Carved

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: E.10.1922
Primary reference Number: 52243
Oldadmincategory: SS
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Antiquities

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Limestone stela" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/52243 Accessed: 2022-07-04 01:44:03

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/52243 |title=Limestone stela |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-07-04 01:44:03|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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