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EC485 Door of a shrine


EC485Door cover of a shrine. This is made from wood with modelled gesso (plaster) and would originally have been gilded. The hinge is on the left hand side. The shrine would have held an image of a god. The decoration shows a king wearing the Blue Crown and kneeling to offer to the statue within the shrine. Ideologically, only the king offered to the gods, though in reality priests and others did too. 

The king stood halfway between his people and the gods. This meant that the king mediated between the two. It was he who was responsible for maintaining the order of the universe, or maat, by offering to the gods. In theory, all offerings were made by the king to the gods but in reality the priests in the temples did this on behalf of the king. Because in theory, offerings were made by the king, the offering formula always starts with the words ‘hetep di nesu’ (an offering which the king gives).  

Late Dynastic-Ptolemaic 747-30 BC. 

The object was purchased in 1922 by Sir Henry Wellcome at an auction of items owned by MacGregor.