Funerary stele of Seperefha-Khonsu

Late Period, Dynasty 26
664–525 B.C.


Height x width x depth: 34.6 x 21.2 x 2.5 cm (13 5/8 x 8 3/8 x 1 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, painted gesso

Not On View


The Ancient World



Round-topped stele of a single piece of wood, covered entirely with a layer of plaster, and painted with red, blue, green, black, and white. Some darkening and fading of colors. Large cracks in wood, and plaster chipped or worn away in spots.

At top a sun disk is depicted with multi-colored wings, with two uraeus cobras dangling below. Heiroglyphic caption between the cobras reads “The Great God, Lord of Heaven,” while on each side of the cobras is “The Behdetite.”

Line of black painted hieroglyphic text below the top decoration, enclosed by border lines of green, blue, and black blocks. This text reads: “An offering which the king gives (to) Osiris, Foremost-of-Westerners, Great God, Lord of Abydos, Ruler of Eternity, that he may give invocation-offerings.”

The primary scene shows the deceased standing at right, facing left with arms raised in a pose of adoration. He wears a flaring black wig, green collar, and kilt of blue and white. A caption in front of him gives his name: “The Osiris Seperefha-Khonsu.” Facing him is, first, a figure of the falcon-headed god Re-Horakhty, who wears a multi-colored atef-crown, blue wig, red collar, and mummy wrappings colored green. His hands extend forward to hold a was-scepter (hieroglyphic sign for “dominion”). Between this primary god and the deceased is an offering table with a multi-colored lotus flower foating above it (to be seen as sitting on the tabletop).

An Isis figure with multi-colored wings and holding a blue Maat-feather stands to the left of Re-Horakhty, wearing a blue wig and red dress. In front of her is a wedjat eye upon a basket. Behind Isis (from right to left) stand the mummiform figures of the Four Sons of Horus (human-headed Imsety, baboon-headed Hapy, jackal-headed Duamutef, and falcon-headed Qebehsenuef), protectors of the viscera of the deceased. Each wears blue wigs, green mummy bandages, and red collars.

The lengthiest text, three lines at bottom, also enclosed by multi-colored block border lines, reads:

“(1) An offering which the king gives (to) (sic), Foremost-of-Westerners, Great God, Lord of Abydos, Ruler of Eternity, that he may give invocation-offerings of bread and beer, oxen and fowl, (2) incense, wine, milk, and every good, pure, sweet, and pleasant thing upon which the god lives, for the spirit (kA) of (3) the Osiris Seperefha-Khonsu, true-of-Voice, son of Padi-Osiris, True-of-Voice, whose mother is… .”


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