Egyptian stele of Pashedu
Height - 16 cm / 6-1/4 inches
Width - 12.5 cm - 5 inches
Now here is a rare replica indeed. The original artifact was found in the great ostraca pit of Deir el Medina - the most renowned artist's village of Ancient Thebes. This very special village was the home of the artists who built and decorated the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens.
The stela belonged to Pashed.........also known as Pashedu whose title 'servant in the place of truth' links him to the artisans of the village. He would later in his career become a foreman and secure for himself a splendid painted tomb built into the cliffs around the village.
The stele features a prayer asking for protection to be forthcoming from the seated deity....Reshep.
Reshep was a Cannanite deity adopted into the Egyptian pantheon during the New Kingdom. In his homeland he was associated with plague but in Egypt he was the god of Horses and chariots. The horse and chariot revolutionized warfare and were introduced during the Hyksos invasion period directly before the rise of Egypt's New Kingdom.
Reshep is usually shown with a club and/or quiver with arrows and always a shield. In place of a uraeus on the brow, more defined versions show a miniature ibex or antelope head instead of the cobra.
The great skill of the artists of the village were called into action over many generations making some of the great masterpieces of Egyptian tomb art and in their free time produced many wonderful works for their own families. The quality of their own modest scale tombs and the artifacts that filled them are simply brilliant.
They were a privileged community given greater respect than most of the working class for the artists were thought to be inspired by the very gods themselves. The name of the village in ancient times was known as Set-Maat - Place of Truth.
Unlike other villages, food rations, water, fabric and tools had to be brought to the village from the main city by the Nile. They had no water well so the vision of beasts laden with amphorae jars full of water must have been a daily sight.
The village itself was born out of the nation's prosperity during the 18th dynasty and conceptualized by King Amenhotep the 1st who became a patron deity of the town for its almost 500 years of life.
A huge pit in the town became the last resting place of the community's rubbish which included thousands of inscribed documents on rough stone. Either painted or carved, rough hewn fragments or shaped stele, the pit contained a history of life in the village. The habits, desires and rudimentary daily life revealed in surprisingly beautiful artworks or mundane shopping dockets and laundry lists.
The stele of Pashedu is just one little moment in time capturing one persons hope in a carved prayer. It's economical carving style suggests it could have been carved in an afternoon. No doubt Pashedu was deep in thought and now that thought transcending thousands of years for us to ponder.
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