Fragment of funerary stele of Qeref

Late Period, Dynasty 25
760–660 B.C.


Height x width x depth: 37.9 x 15.3 x 2.1 cm (14 15/16 x 6 x 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, painted gesso

Not On View


The Ancient World



Round-topped funerary stele fragment of wood. Formed from two virtical pieces joined with a dowel. Covered by a thick layer of gesso across the entire surface. Preserved fragment is the left portion, with the lower right corner broken off and missing. Plaster is cracked and chipped, particularly at the outer edges. Painted decoration still clear, showing red, yellow, green, blue, black, and white, with some irregular darkening of some pigment.

The scene: at top a winged sun disk is depicted with multi-colored wings and two ankh signs (the hieroglyphic sign for “life”) dangling below. The captions “the Behdetite” and “the Great God” appear as well.

The missing right portion of the scene would have depicted the deceased in a pose of adoration facing the deity who is preserved at left. The falcon-headed god, Re-Horakhty, faces right, holding a green was-scepter (the hieroglyphic sign for “dominion”). His skin is yellow, as is the sun disk upon his black wig. His attire is accentuated with yellow bracelets and armlets. Behind this figure stand two goddesses, respectively Isis and Nepthys, depicted almost identically except for their identifying headresses. They wear white wigs with red fillets and are rendered with yellow skin. They hold strips of cloth in one hand (mummy bandages). A collar and anklets (the latter absent from Nephthys) are also painted yellow.

Black painted hieroglyphic text captions appear before each deity:

In front of Re-Horakhty:
“[Re-Horakhty, Lord of] Heaven, who presides over the gods, the Great One.”

In front of Isis:
“Isis the Great, mother of the god”

In front of Nephthys:
“Nephthys, who presides over heaven, Mistress of Every Land”

Six alternating white and yellow bands with intervening green lines carry an offering text in black hieroglyphic text below the main scene.

Translation & Reconstruction of Text:
“[An offering which the king gives to Osiris Fore]most of the West, Great God, Lord of Abydos…son of Geb, Prince of the Gods…and all pure and good things for the ka (spirit) of Osiris…. Thebes, Qeref, True-of-Voice, son of the captain of…….possessor of enjoyment…….-ru, True-of-Voice.”

On the back of the stele a hieratic caption has been added in black ink, reading: “Regnal year 12(?), Pharaoh Psa[mmetichus (I)]…”


By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way.
(Accession date: June 28, 1872)

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way