"Tetisheri Stela" - Limestone Round-Topped Stela of Tetisheri with Ahmose I

Artefact Details

Gallery number: 12 – Ground Floor

Period: New Kingdom

Dynasty: 18th Dynasty (ca. 1550–1295 BC)

Place of discovery: Abydos, Excavated by W.M.F. Petrie for the EEF (Egypt Exploration Fund) in 1903

Size: Height: 226 cm, width: 106 cm

Material: Limestone

This commemorative stela, bears a vignette and inscription dedicated to queen Tetisheri, the maternal grandmother of king Ahmose who founded the mighty 18th dynasty. It is topped by a winged disk incorporating two cobras, a symbol of royal protection. The vignette consists of a mirror image of an almost identical scene in which the king makes offering to the queen. She is seated on a throne on a dais holding, in both instances in her left hand, a fly whisk, a common accoutrement for royal women, and she wears plain sheath dress and broad collar. Her head is adorned with the vulture crown, identifying her as mother to the heir to the throne, to which is added two plumes (probably ostrich). Her right hand is extended to receive the various offerings of food and cosmetics. King Ahmose stands, in both instances, behind the tables with his right hand in a gesture that indicates the giving of the offerings. In his left hand he holds his stick and a mace with a pear-shaped head. He wears a simple kilt with an fringed apron and the royal tail accoutrement. The artist has made some minor adjustments to the symmetrical arrangement (a common device in Egyptian art) in order to maintain the verisimilitude of the ritual – the whisk is always held in the left hand and the gestures here are properly made with the right.

The staff is carried, as usual, in the left hand; however, the mace was generally depicted in the right hand, ready to defend, but here, the king has retired it to his left in deference to his presentation to his esteemed grandmother. The inscriptions in the vignette give the names and titles of the king and queen, while the 17 preserved lines below refer to the creation of offerings for Tetisheri’s shrine in Abydos, where this stela was found, and the intention of the king to build her a pyramid and temple, the remains of which can be identified on a terrace near the cliffs.