Stela of Queen Batahaliye
404-369 BC
Material: Granite;
Provenance: Nuri, Pyramid Nu. 44,
Boston (Massachusetts), Museum of Fine Arts; No. 21.3231

Description: In the upper part of the round-topped funerary stela, the queen is shown in bold raised relief in front of the enthroned Osiris and Isis standing behind him. A food-laden altar stands before Osiris. The queen wears a long, ample robe, a crown with two tall feathers, and a uraeus. She has a collar, bracelets on her raised arms, and sandals. Over the scene is a winged sun disk with two uraei. The inscriptions above the figures give the names of the queen and the deities in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Below the scene is another Egyptian inscription, consisting of eight lines with an offering formula containing an invocation to the gods Osiris and Isis. The surface of the stela is only slightly polished.

The stela of Queen Batahaliye, a wife of King Harsiyotef, belongs to a group of gray granite funerary stelae, all with bold raised relief in the pediment and inscriptions in faulty Egyptian, which were made in the fourth century B.C. This relief has a crisp effect, since the edges are sharply cut. The scenes on the stela of King Harsiyotef (Cairo JE 48864), which was erected in the Great Temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal, show quite a different style, relating to that of the older stelae of Aspelta or the more recent one of Nastasen, proving that two stylistic trends existed side by side.


Africa in Antiquity: The Arts of Ancient Nubia and the Sudan, Steffen Wenig, Brooklyn Museum, p. 165 (1978)