Alabaster Heb Sed Vase
This alabaster vase is connected with the Heb Sed festival, during which the king would repeat his coronation rituals by sitting on the thrones of Upper and Lower Egypt – seen here at the base of the handle. These thrones were within a pavilion on a stepped platform that symbolized the primeval mound of creation.
The rectangle below, in which a royal name would have been inscribed, is supported by the god Heh, the hieroglyph for millions. On the top of the handles a scarab beetle, signifying rebirth. All of this served to ensure the king´s perpetual resurrection and eternal rule.
Sed festivals were jubilees celebrated after a ruler had held the throne for thirty years and then every three to four years after that. They primarily were held to rejuvenate the king’s strength and stamina while still sitting on the throne, celebrating the continued success of the king.
Old Kingdom, 3rd Dynasty, reign of Djoser, ca. 2686-2649 BC. From the step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 64872