Kushite King Nedjeh (1650-1550 BC)
Stela of the official Ka
Limestone, paint
Buhen, Nubia

Sudan National Museum, Khartoum - #18


The lunette is decorated, in sunk relief, with a religious motif in the form of the so-called shen-ring flanked by two udjat eyes. Both the motif and the inscription were finished in green paint, substantial traces of which remain. The text reads:

(1) A gift that the king gives (to) Osiris. Lord of Busiris. the Great God, Lord of Abydos,
(2) and (to) Horus, Lord of Foreign Land[s], that they may give
an invocation offering consisting of bread and beer, oxen and fowl, and all things
(3) good and pure, on which a god lives, which heaven creates and (4) earth makes, which Hapy [the Nile Indundation] brings as his perfect offering, for the spirit
(5) of the nobleman Ka. It is the son of his daughter who makes his name to live,
(6) namely the nobleman lah-user. He (Ka) says: I was a valiant servant
(7) of the ruler of Kush. I washed my feet
(8) in the waters of Kush in the following of the
(9) ruler Nedjeh. I returned
(10) safe and sound (and) my family (too).
Towards the end of the 13th Dynasty (1795-1650 BC). Egypt underwent a great political upheaval and, among other consequences, was obliged to withdraw from Nubia. In the north a Canaanite dynasty, known as the Hyksos, took control of the Nile Delta and Lower Egypt. In the south Wawat and the fortresses, among them Buhen, were occupied by the forces of the powerful kingdom of Kush, based at Kerma just south of the Third Cataract. It appears that not all Egyptian personnel chose to flee. Some remained to serve the new masters.

This stela is one of a group of monuments from Buhen belonging to a single family who administered the fortress over several generations during the period of Kushite rule. A high official named Ka was the owner of the stela, which was dedicated to him by his grandson, also a high official, named lah-user. We know from other sources that Ka was preceded in office by his father and grandfather, both named Sobekemheb. His younger brother, named Sepedhor, served as 'commandant of Buhen' and was instrumental in rebuilding the Temple of Horus at Buhen where their stelae were set up. Both proudly state that they served the ruler of Kush whose name is given on the stela of Ka as Nedjeh.


Sudan: Ancient Treasures, Derek A. Welsby and Julie R. Anderson, British Museum Press, pp. 100-101 (2004)
Stela with Figure of a King

Sudan National Museum, Khartoum - 62/8/17

A king shown as if striding to the right. He wears the white crown of Upper Egypt with a uraeus at the forehead and a short skirt with a protruding front, probably a version of the royal shendyt-kilt. In his rear hand he holds a mace, and in his front hand a long, double-curved bow and three arrows.

There are good grounds, both stylistic and archaeological, for identifying the figure as one of the kings of Kush, shown as having 'adopted in part at least the regalia of Pharaoh, specifically as king of Upper Egypt'. This was no empty aspiration on the part of the Kushites. During the Kerma Classique period they not only ruled the whole of Nubia but also carried out at least one substantial invasion of Upper Egypt. It has been suggested that the king represented here may be the Nedjeh mentioned on the Buhen stela of Ka (photo above).

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