Fragment of a palette, reused as a bead mould



Accession Number
W216
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Domestic piety case
Object Type
Implements and utensils, Mould | Implements and utensils, Writing equipment, Palette
Period
Third Intermediate Period
Material
Stone/minerals (Metasiltstone)
Provenance
Egypt, Bubastis, Tell Basta
Measurements
Height: 65mm | Width: 54 | Depth: 11mm
Number of Elements
1
Divine Name
Thoth

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Description

The upper portion of a metasiltstone model scribal palette. The even bottom edge indicates that it was sawn off from a complete palette, leaving a smooth surface, probably by a metal saw in modern times. The scene is set within a rectangular perimeter frame is surmounted by a pt-sign; however, based on analogous scenes from offering stelae, the expected wꜢs-sceptres supporting the pt-sign are not present. Within the frame the god Thoth is depicted being praised by the palette’s owner. A table with a spouted nmst-vessel and a lotus flower are placed between the two figures. Thoth is portrayed with a lunar disc upon his head and holding an ꜥnḫ and wꜢs-sceptre. Directly in front of the lunar disc is the horizontal text Ḏḥwty “Thoth.” A line of horizontal—rotating to vertical—text runs above the depiction of the owner. His two hands are raised in a gesture of making praise (rdj.t jꜢ.w or dwꜢ), while he is clothed in a long, flowing garment. His lack of hair is indicative of a priestly role. Immediately in front of the owner’s name is an occupational title, its reading not so clear. A column of text below his upraised hands states that he is a sẖꜢw{t} n Jmn [ . . . ] “scribe [?] of Amun.” There is a small, slightly rectilinear sign immediately after sẖꜢ.w “scribe” that has been transcribed here as an otiose t-hieroglyph. If the palette is dated to the Third Intermediate Period, as seems likely, it is not uncommon for the singular masculine indirect genitive to be written as nt, with the small t appearing before the broad, flat n for calligraphic reasons. At the bottom of this fragment are traces of at least two vertical columns of text. They are heavily damaged, but a cluster on the left side, beneath the offering table, seems to be ḏd mdw “words spoken,” while to the right traces of a necked nw-jar are clear. Given the iconographic and onomastic tendencies, it is probably reasonable to date the palette generally to the Third Intermediate Period, recognizing that a slightly earlier or later date is not out of the question. It is clear that the palette has been used for a secondary purpose as the obverse face has been heavily abraded with a deep horizontal score, essentially at knee-level of the two figures. From this declivity run three vertical lines, also cut secondarily. A similar set of marks are found on the reverse side. Based on parallels, this would have been for the production of beads.

Bibliography

Sagrillo, Troy Leiland 2017. King Djeḥuty-em-ḥat in Swansea: three model scribal palettes in the collection of the Egypt Centre of Swansea University. In Jurman, Claus, Bettina Bader, and David A. Aston (eds), A true scribe of Abydos: essays on first millennium Egypt in honour of Anthony Leahy, 385-414. Leuven: Peeters. [pp. 386–389]

Inscription

Above Thoth: ḏḥwty = Thoth Official: ḥry sẖꜢw sẖꜢw{t} n ı͗mn ḏd-mwt-ı͗w.f-ꜥnḫ Chief of the Scribes(?), Scribe of Amun(?), Djedmutiwefankh Between the figures: ḏd mdw [...] = Words spoken [...]

Language
Egyptian
Script
Hieroglyphic
Personal Name
Djedmutiwefankh (ḏd-mwt-i͗w.f-ꜥnḫ)
Last modified: 19 Oct 2020

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