Relief of a Woman Seated at a Table of Offerings



Relief of a Woman Seated at a Table of Offerings


Carving, relief, sculpture, stone


2435-2306 BC


Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5


Limestone, pigment
14 x 9 3/4 x 3 1/4 in. (35.6 x 24.8 x 8.3 cm)

Object Number



This relief of a woman appears to be a companion of the relief of a seated man, and they probably represent a husband and wife seated on either side of a table of offerings. This scene is the one most commonly depicted in Old Kingdom tombs and was intended to supply the deceased with all the food and drink that could be wished for in the afterlife.|

The table is shown piled with long slices of bread shown standing upright so that they can be easily identified. Beneath it is a hieroglyphic inscription that reads, "a thousand of linen". Around the offering table assortments of food and necessities for the next life would usually be depicted and labeled. Traces of an inscription appear above the offering table, but it has been erased. Tombs could be attacked and vandalized by political enemies and names and/or images of people destroyed to deprive them of the life sustaining depictions in the tomb chapel. Tombs were also on occasion reused and the names of the original owners obliterated.|

The woman is shown in the typical female costume of the Old Kingdom, with a tight-fitting sheath dress and adorned with beaded anklets, bracelets, broad collar, and choker. Her hair is arranged in a long lappet wig, which becomes the standard hairstyle for women and divine beings for centuries after this.

Credit Line

Gift of Joop Bollen


Life and Death in the Pyramid Age: The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 10 - December 11, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, May 14, 2013 - Present


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2011.
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On View



“Relief of a Woman Seated at a Table of Offerings,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 13, 2018,

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