Stele of King Tanyidamani
Meroitic Period
110-90 BC
Granite gneiss
Meroitic Inscription both faces and edge.
Excavated at Gebel Barkal (Sudan), Great Temple of Amen
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Votive Tablet of King Tanyidamani
Collection: Baltimore (Maryland), Walters Art Gallery 22.258 (WAG 213)

Description: A small votive tablet is carved in sunk relief on both sides. On the obverse is King Tanyidamani, wearing a ceremonial robe, a sash, and a long tasseled band slung over his right shoulder. On his head is a hemhem-crown with two streamers. Around his neck are a broad collar, a cord with three pendant ram's heads (mostly destroyed), and a ball-bead necklace. His earrings are in the form of ram's heads with sun disks. On his arms are wide armlets and bracelets. He holds a scepter in his outstretched hands. In front of and behind him are panels with inscriptions in Meroitic cursive.

This unique votive tablet, dedicated by King Tanyidamani in the Apedemak Temple of Meroe, is of exceptional quality and meticulously detailed. Particularly remarkable is the king's face; the prominent cheekbones, characteristic Kushite fold, fleshy nose, and thick lips are paralleled in the likenesses of Kushite rulers of Dynasty XXV and of the early Napatan Period. It is astonishing that artistic traditions were maintained so clearly into the first century B.C. although connecting links are almost entirely missing. However, that objects could be produced at the same time which give evidence of marked stylistic and qualitative variations is shown by a comparison with the stela of King Tanyidamani from the Great Temple of Amun at Gebel Barkal (Boston 23.736).


Africa in Antiquity: The Arts of Ancient Nubia and the Sudan, Steffen Wenig, Brooklyn Museum, (1978), p. 200
King Tanyidamani
Meroitic Period
(110-90 BC)
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