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Stela with the Representation of the Goddess Renenutet

Place of production Deir el-Medina (?), Egypt
Date 1295–1069 B.C.
Object type stela
Medium, technique Limestone, paint

27 x 18 x 5.4 cm

Inventory number 51.2148
Collection Egyptian Art
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Basement Floor, Ancient Egypt, Daily life

The surface of this stela is slightly damaged, however, traces of yellow and red ochre paint is still visible. In the upper left corner, Renenutet, a snake goddess of the harvest and victuals is depicted wearing the double feather crown. She is also identified with the ureus-snake providing protection against enemies; her cult was particularly popular during the New Kingdom. On the right side of the register, a man is offering water and fowl to the goddess whom the vertical hieroglyphic inscription refers to as “Nekhbet-Renenutet”. Nekhbet, the protector goddess of Upper Egypt, was usually represented as a vulture or cobra. Similarly to Renenutet, she was responsible for sustenance and provided protection against enemies. In the lower register, there are three figures; from left to right, the wife and the sons of the man presenting offerings to the goddess above. A large, closed jar stands in front of them in which the family may have kept a living cobra thus Renenutet was worshipped not only in a temple cult but a house cult as well. The stela probably originates from Deir el-Medina, the purpose-built settlement of the craftsmen who prepared the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the New Kingdom.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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