Relief of Ptolemy I offering to Hathor

Ptolemaic Dynasty, reign of Ptolemy I Soter
305–282 B.C.

Object Place: Egypt, Kom Abu Billo (Tarrana, Terenuthes)


Overall: 36 x 128 x 18cm (14 3/16 x 50 3/8 x 7 1/16in.) Other (Height x length x D): 128cm (50 3/8in.) Block (painted wooden base ): 149.5 x 136.2 x 115.6 cm (58 7/8 x 53 5/8 x 45 1/2 in.) Case (plex-bonnet): 38.7 x 136.2 x 24.1 cm (15 1/4 x 53 5/8 x 9 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Egyptian Late Period Gallery (Gallery 216)


The Ancient World


Doors, jambs, lintels

Ptolemy I on right with raised hands holding a bowl of flaming incense; Hathor on left holding a papyrus-scepter; hieroglyphs on each side and top.

[Alternate Text:]
The founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty is shown offering incense to the goddess in a small brazier complete with two incense pellets and a wisp of smoke. Hathor holds a wand in the shape of a papyrus stalk. The word for papyrus also meant ‘green’, which was therefore written with a hieroglyph representing a papyrus plant. Thus, in the incomplete inscription behind the goddess’s head, the papyrus hieroglyph (crossed by a cobra, used as a phonetic sign) appears as part of the writing of ‘great-green’, the Egyptian name for the Mediterranean Sea.

Early Ptolemaic art continued the style developed in the preceding 29th and 30th Dynasties, in its soft modeling of the fleshy bodies, the elegant precision of details, and the somewhat mannered refinement of such features as the long curving fingers.


From Kom Abu Billo (Terenuthis). 1887-88: excavated by F.L. Griffith for the Egypt Exploration Fund; assigned to the Egypt Exploration Fund by the government of Egypt; 1889: given to the MFA by the Egypt Exploration Fund.
(Accession Date: January 1, 1889)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription