Skip to main content

Limestone stela: E.10.1922

An image of Stelae

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 19


Limestone stela




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

Find spot

Acquisition and important dates

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


-50 - -200

School or Style


Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


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: Wednesday 13 December 2023

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 (2024) "Limestone stela" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-13 15:01:57

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Limestone stela |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-13 15:01:57|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Limestone stela"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Limestone stela</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...