Pyramidion of Iufaa

This steep-sided pyramidion is inscribed for Iufaa, a priest of Osiris, ruler of the Netherworld, at his sacred site of Abydos, and originally would have surmounted a memorial chapel at this site. It is decorated on all four faces, with almost identical images on each pair of opposing sides.

An inscription at the top of each face gives Iufaa’s name and principal title. On two of the sides, Iufaa is shown kneeling with his hands raised in a gesture of adoration before an inscription; on one side this asks that he be given offerings by the god Ra-Horakhty.

Pyramidion of Iufaa
Pyramidion of Iufaa

Above, the recumbent figure of a jackal, representing the mortuary god Anubis, perches atop a shrine with a scepter between his forelegs.

On the other two sides, a central inscription giving Iufaa’s name, titles, and filiation, is flanked by two baboons (one to each side), making gestures of praise.

Above are solar barks: on one side, the sun sits on the horizon; on the other, the sun is rising, balanced on the front legs of a scarab beetle (the god Khepri).

The shallow sunk relief is expertly but crudely carved, with some interior detail provided for the major figures. It was originally painted, with a limited palette of red, blue, white, and black.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Painted limestone. H. 35.5 × W. 27.2 × D. 26.4 cm, 19.8 kg (14 × 10 11/16 × 10 3/8 in., 43.6 lb.). From Abydos. Now in the Metropolitan Museum. 21.2.66