Decorated Situla (bronze)

Decorated Situla (bronze)

The situla was a deluxe ritual vessel that played an important role in Egyptian religious ceremonies. The two scenes on this situla exemplify the dual roles of a pious Egyptian in the afterlife: receiving offerings from his family on the one hand and making offerings to the gods on the other. On one side of the vessel the deceased, Padiamennebnesuttawy (“He who Amen, lord of Karnak, gives”), sits in a low chair accompanied by his pet dog. The vertical, cross-shaped sign preceding the animal is his name, Nefer, meaning “good one” or “beautiful one.” On the right, the deceased’s eldest son, Amenhotep, makes offerings of incense and water to his father. On the other side the deceased demonstrates his piety by making an offering of round loaves of bread, vegetables, and meat to the gods. Opposite him are the gods who are the recipients of his offerings—Osiris, god of the dead; Horus, son of Isis; and Isis herself—each of whom wears elaborate beaded and feathered garments.

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.