Description This seal depicts a figure seated, arms extended, in front of an offering table topped with bread. Two quadrupeds, possibly dogs, stand behind the figure. The seal is inscribed with early hieroglyphic signs on either side of the figure. Some signs are identifiable but currently not understandable, and they probably indicate the figure’s uncertain name. This scene type with the deceased sitting at an offering table is included in funerary stelae and on tomb walls throughout ancient Egyptian history. The seal is pierced lengthwise so as to be worn as a personal ornament that acted as both a marker of status and a protective charm. This seal dates to the beginning of the Egyptian state during the First Dynasty or the early Second Dynasty (ca. 2960-2649 BCE). Administrative cylinder seals also existed during this early period, however based on the known provenance of many of these seal-types—non-royal tombs—this seal’s function was most likely to help maintain the deceased’s funerary cult rather than to act as an administrative tool.
Provenance Joseph Abemayor, Cairo, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1930, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930
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