King Senusret I being embraced by Ptah

King Senusret I being embraced by Ptah. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 36809

Detail of an elegant pillar of King Senusret I, is finely decorated with relief on four sides. Each side shows the king in the presence of a different deity: the falcon Horus of Edfu; Atum of Heliopolis wearing the Double Crown; Amun of Thebes wearing his characteristic crown of two long plumes; and Ptah of Memphis wearing his tight cap on his head and shown inside a shrine.

Here Ptah, the patron god of craftsmen, is depicted within a shrine and wearing the cap of the artisan. Senusret himself wears nemes, the headdress decorated on the forehead with the uraeus or royal cobra. Above Senusret and the gods, brief columns of hieroglyphic texts identify the characters in the scenes and also contain phrases for the king, which also appear in the remains of the inscriptions on the base of the pillar.

This pillar was the reason for a great discovery at the beginning of the 20th century: Gaston Maspero found this pillar under the courtyard in front of the 7th pylon of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. The find encouraged him to dig deeper, hoping to find other elegant pillars. However, he found hundreds of statues of kings and nobles, together with thousands of bronze statues of deities and individuals. It was the discovery of the great Cachette of Karnak.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret I, ca. 1971-1926 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 36809

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