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Altar from the Mortuary Temple of Amenemhat I

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
reign of Amenemhat I
Date:
ca. 1981–1952 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Pyramid Temple of Amenemhat I, west end of passage north of temple, MMA 1906–1907
Medium:
Granite
Dimensions:
h. 161 cm (63 3/8 in); w. 166 cm (65 3/8 in); d. 47 cm (18 1/2 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1909
Accession Number:
09.180.526
  • Description

    This imposing altar was found at the west end of a passage just outside the northern wall of the pyramid temple of King Amenemhat I at Lisht North. It must have been placed there by the quarrymen who - most probably in Ramesside times - dismantled the temple. Originally, the altar presumably stood in the open court of the temple, its roughly shaped lower part (now removed) sunken into the ground. A rectangular libation basin is carved into the top of the altar, as well as representations in flat relief of an offering mat with two libation (hes) vases and three loaves of bread, the middle one incised with the king's throne name and Horus name and the added wish: "may [he] be given life forever!" At the center of the altar's front side the incised birth name of the king (Amenemhat) forms the focus for rows of approaching fertility figures (fat men and women carrying offerings) who are designated by inscriptions as personifications of nomes (regional governorates) of northern Egypt (on the left) and southern Egypt (on the right).

  • Provenance

    Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
544194:3

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