The following paper objective is to present the funerary stela of Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet, kept at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The stela’s accession number is 1947.392 and is possibly from Abydos because of its imagery. The stela dates back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt, which is 664-332 BC. This funerary stela helps to provide data about the funerary practices and the responsibilities women had in ancient Egyptian society.
Description of the stela
The stela is deemed to be a round-topped stela because the top is curved while the sides and bottom remain straight. It is 33 cm high and is 24 cm wide; its thickness is estimated to be 2 to 3 cm. It was carved from limestone and has only a few traces of red and black pigment. The bodies of the Egyptian gods Horus and Thoth still have the red pigment on their bodies as well as the solar disc of the uraei. The stela has a border all around it with a patter that interchanges between one wide red bar and three small black bars. At the top there are two-winged cobra called uraei (Capel, Markoe, Cincinnati Art Museum, & Brooklyn Museum, 1996). There is also an inscription below the uraei. The center of the stela depicts a woman, who is Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet, standing on the right and on the left revering the Egyptian gods Horus and Thoth. The central scene also has two small inscriptions above Horus and Thoth. The bottom has three rows of hieroglyphs, which are an offering prayer, details about Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet’s family, and her title as “Mistress of the House” (Capel, Markoe, Cincinnati Art Museum, & Brooklyn Museum, 1996, p. 166).
Illustrations and text
The central scene on the funerary stela Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet is illustrated twice standing behind the god Horus, who is on the left and has a falcon head, and the god Thoth, who is standing on the right and has an ibis head. Horus and Thoth are pouring water offerings before a central djed pillar with the atef crown; both are the sacred symbols of the god Osiris. Because of the afet crown and the djed pillar it is believed that this stela came from Abydos, the cult center for Osiris. Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet is depicted wear traditional clothing for this time period in a close-fitting dress and a transparent over garment called a loose. On her head she is wearing a perfumed cone of wax; this headdress is depicted often in contemporary scenes of worship (Capel, Markoe, Cincinnati Art Museum, & Brooklyn Museum, 1996).
The hieroglyphs on the bottom of the stela are conventional for a funerary dedication. According to Capel, Markoe, Cincinnati Art Museum, & Brooklyn Museum (1996) the inscription states the following:
An offering which the king gives (to) Osiris, Foremost of Westerners, Lord of Abydos, (that) he may grant funerary offerings of bread and beer, cattle and fowl, and all good and pure things of the ka of the lady, the Mistress of the House Ta-Khaa-En-Bastet, daughter of the Scribe of the Divine Scrolls of Onuris, Pabarema (p. 166).