Limestone stele depicting three figures and heiroglyphs

Egyptian. Cast of the original in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Limestone stele found near Saqqara (northeast Egypt), ca. 1320 BCE.


The original limestone slab depicts Hatiay, an overseer of works for Akhenaten, who kneels holding a censor and libation case, He is accompanied by his son, Ptahmose. The third figure is a priest wearing the characteristic panther skin and side lock. He recites the prayer inscribed above the figures.

The Heiroglyphs translate to: "Sokar-Osiris, I have given you a thousand of bread and a thousand of...a thousand of oxen and a thousand of fowl, a thousand of incense and a thousand of fat, a thousand of alabaster and a thousand of clothing, a thousand of wine and a thousand of divine offerings, a thousand of everything sweet and a thousand of everything pure and good, and the offerings of all the yearly sustenance for Sokar in the Henu barque"

Historical Context:

Akhenaten was a Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt and the son of Amenhotep III. Akhenaten ruled for 17 years and died in 1336 BCE. He is especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, a sun deity, which is sometimes described as monotheistic. Akhenaten’s attempt to bring about a departure from traditional religion was not ultimately accepted. After his death, traditional religious practice was gradually restored, and when a new dynasty was founded a few years after his death, Akhenaten and his immediate successors were discredited. Akhenaten himself is referred to as ‘the enemy’ in archival records.

Akhenaten was all but lost from history until the 19th century discovery of Amarna, the city built by Akhenaten for Aten. Early excavations at Amarna sparked interest in the enigmatic pharaoh, which increased with the discovery in the Valley of the Kings of the tomb of King Tutankhamun who, according to 2010 DNA tests, has been proved to be Akhenaten’s son. Akhenaten remains an interesting figure, as does his Queen, Nefertiti. Modern interest in them comes partly from his connection with Tutankhamun, partly from the unique style and high quality of the pictorial arts Akhenaten patronized, and partly from ongoing interest in the religion he attempted to establish.

Original Statue

Artist: Unknown
Material: Limestone
Culture: Egyptian
Century: 14th century BCE
Current Location: New YorkUnited States
Museum: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • ancient egypt
  • egypt
  • Egyptian
  • Hatiay
  • heiroglyphs
  • stele