Sunday, June 28, 2015

Museum Pieces - Tomb Relief

Tomb relief with an inscription in raised relief: rp´ h3tj-´ (sd3wtj) bjtj.

Photocredit: Medelhavsmuseet 2013
Titles and status were important. This relief fragment tells that the tomb owner was a nobleman, a member of the elite and a governor. The bee at the bottom of the column hints at a connection with the king, which was very prestigious.

Photocredit: Medelhavsmuseet 2013

Inventory number: MM 11433
Object: Relief
Material: Limestone; Stone
Period: 25th Dynasty (c.735-656 BC), Late Period
Dimensions: H. 36,5 cm, W. 25 cm, D. 4 cm

The ancient Egyptian Bee (hieroglyph), Gardiner sign listed no. L2, is the representation of a honeybee. The bee figures prominently throughout Ancient Egyptian history, and started in the early Protodynastic Period, for example with Pharaoh Den. His timeperiod famously produced 20 tomb-labels (tags) that recorded events, and told short stories, with the first use of hieroglyphs, that by 2900 BC time had included biliterals, some triliterals, and the Egyptian hieroglyphic uniliterals.

The form of the bee on Den's labels, and others in the timeperiod (Semerkhet), show similar form, a flying bee, at an angle. The later forms are more "horizontal, wings outspread".
The bee became the symbol for "King of the North" (the Nile Delta (Lower Egypt), and northern Egypt); the sedge (hieroglyph)
represented the opposite: the "King of the South" (the King of Upper Egypt). A combined form also came to be used: the "King of the South & and the King of the North".


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