Funerary stele of Iretiru

Late Period, Dynasty 26
664–525 B.C.


Height x width x depth: 29.5 x 23.9 x 2.4 cm (11 5/8 x 9 7/16 x 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, painted gesso

Not On View


The Ancient World



Round topped stele formed of one piece of wood, coated with plaster (now badly cracked and chipped), and painted. Somewhat irregularly shaped with uneven surface. Wood also cracked in spots.

At top is depicted (now heavily damaged) a sun disk with wings of red, green, and blue. A caption partially remaining at left reads “The Behdite, the Great [God].” A horizontal line of black painted hieroglyphic text reads: “Words spoken by Osiris, Lord of Busiris, the Gread God, Lord of Heaven, that he may give every god and pure and every sweet and pleasant thing… .”

The central scene shows the deceased standing at right, facing left with arms raised in a pose of adoration. He has a shaved head and wears a green and white kilt. Facing him is a standing figure of the god Ra-Horakhty, wearing a black lappet wig and mummy wrappings colored green and white. Between these two primary figures is an offering table with a lotus flower above it (indicating placement upon the table). Behind Re-Horakhty stands the winged goddess Isis, also with black lappet wig and a red dress, holding a Maat-feather. Her wings are also multi-colored, and in front of her is placed a wedjat eye over a neb basket.

Behind Isis (from right to left) stand the mummiform figures of the Four Sons of Horus (human-headed Imsety, babboon-headed Hapy, jackal-headed Duamutef, and falcon-headed Qebehsenuef), protectors of the viscera of the deceased. Preservation of the right-most two is particularly poor due to plaster flaking.

Three lines of text occupy the bottom register of the stele, with an offering text that reads: “An offering which the king gives (to) Re-Horakhty, Great God who presides over the gods, who comes from the horizon, (and to) Atum, the Lord of the Two Lands, the Helioplitan, that he may give invocation-offerings of bread and beer, incense, wine, milk and every good, pure, sweet, and pleasant thing to the Osiris, Iretiru, True-of-Voice, son of [… .]”


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