Old Kingdom Limestone Relief for Hen-Gegu

SKU: MS.0004

Origin: Egypt
Circa: Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, 2323 BC - 2150 BC
Dimensions: 14.65" Height x 8.1" Width x 1" Depth (without frame), 20.5" x 13" x 2" (with frame)
Medium: Limestone

Stone reliefs from the Old Kingdom such as this, were typically found in the door jambs for false doors in a funerary setting or tomb. Given the left facing direction of the striding figure we can presume that this example was from the right door jamb.  Sculpted in sunk relief, it preserves Hen-gegu, a Lector Priest of Thoth.  He faces left, wearing a short wig and a belted kilt, while holding a sekhem scepter in his lowered left hand and a staff out before him in his right.  Behind him we see a vertical border with periodically spaced horizontal lines, while above we can read the identifying inscription.

with Galerie Antiker Kunst, Hamburg, 1976

Repaired from two sections, with a diagonal break running through the inscription; losses to the surface throughout, especially the lower left and right, including his forward foot; some chips to the surface.

The false door was just that: an imitation door, with no real opening. It's purpose was to enable the spirit of the deceased to travel from the subterranean burial chamber to the world of the living above. In the Old Kingdom, the false door was also the focus of offerings made to the deceased. The jambs were decorated with standing figures of the tomb-owner or owners, which faced inward toward the "Opening." Often found above the lintel, would be another panel showing the deceased sitting at an offering table covered with various foods and commodities.

see Relief of Nofer, Old Kingdom, Dyn. 4, reigns of Khufu to Khafra, Tomb G 2110, Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 07.1002

Russman E.R., Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum, London, 2001, pp. 72–73, no. 6.


Old Kingdom

Old Kingdom Limestone Relief for Hen-Gegu

Old Kingdom

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