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Restoration Stela of Tutankhamen

Author(s): C. Zarnoch, E. Sullivan

Description: This round-topped stela is an important historical document commemorating the end of the religious iconoclasm of Akhenaten and the official return to the traditional Egyptian religious system under king Tutankhamen. In the lunette (the rounded upper section of the stela), Tutankhamen is shown offering papyrus and lotus flowers (left) and a vase (right) to the gods Amun-Re and Mut. He wears the blue crown on the left and the nemes headdress on the right. Amun-Re wears the double plumed crown and holds an ankh sign in one hand and the was-scepter in the other. Mut wears the double crown and has her arm around Amun-Re. The winged solar disk stretches above the figures.

The stela's horiztonal lines of text record how the temples of Egypt had fallen into ruin during Akhenaten's reign and how Tutankhamen had restored them to their former glory. Horemheb usurped the stela, but did not change all of Tutankhamen's cartouches. The perforations down the center are from a later attempt to split the stela in half.

Beneath the text, a line of rekhyt birds (symbol of the common people) adore the cartouches of Horemheb (originally those of Tutankhamen).

Provenance: Found in the northeast corner of the Hypostyle Hall, thought to originally have stood in front of the 3rd Pylon
Person: Tutankhamen with Amun-Re and Mut
Date: Dynasty 18, New Kingdom (1336-1327 BCE)
Material: Red granite with traces of blue paste, later erasures are filled with yellow paste
Functional Comments: Stelae were displayed in temples to commemorate and glorify special religious, historical, or military events. This stela celebrated the renewal of the Karnak temples by Tutankhamen after their closure by Akhenaten.
Dimensions: H: 2.54m, W: 1.29m, D: 0.38m
Current Location: Cairo Museum

Bennett, J. (1939). "The Restoration Inscription of Tut'ankhamun." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 25: 8-15.

Porter, B. and R. Moss (1927). Topographical bibliography of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs, and paintings: The Theban temples. Oxford, Clarendon Press. pp. 16-17.

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