Monday, October 15, 2007

Hatshepsut Bead and Cylinder Seal, RC 1114

With the recent identification of the mummy of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, this remarkable ruler has once again captured the public’s attention. She ruled for approximately twenty two years, first as Regent for her step-son Thutmose III, and later as co-pharaoh with him. Although a female pharaoh was unusual in ancient Egypt, it was not entirely unprecedented, as history includes among the female rulers of Egypt, Pharaoh Sobeknefru who had reigned as a king of the 12th Dynasty, and others. This would later occur again, most notably in the case of the last ruling pharaoh, Cleopatra VII. Scholars are still studying the records for evidence of additional women rulers in Egypt’s ancient past. It has long been known that women in general held higher status in Egypt than in the lands surrounding it. This included the ability to own property, have an equal voice in legal proceedings, and having control of the household industries which produced linen, bread, beer, and other items vital to Egypt’s economic life. The Hatshepsut Bead and Cylinder Seal in the Museum’s collection came to us from the Rustafjaell estate in 1989. The tiny and elegant piece stands 2.3 centimeters high, made from glazed steatite metal (soapstone), blue on the cylinder base with a gold colored bead surmounting the small column. It is currently displayed in our Religion and Kingship Gallery (C) in the Museum. The cylinder body is engraved with Hatshepsut’s royal cartouche with her Prename, “Marat Ka Re,” that is, “Truth is the Ka of Re.” The Cylinder could have been used as a signature seal, and also as an amulet, as the name of the Pharaoh was considered to have great power for such uses.

1 comment:

Frederick Milton said...

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