Relief of King Djoser

In this relief, the powerful face, thick lips, and coarse profile of the deity are reminiscent of King Djoser as he is depicted at Saqqara. The fragment relief depicts a seated god wearing a long wig and the “divine” beard, with curled tip.

A broad collar embellishes the plain, clinging garment from which one hand emerges to rest on the knees. The hieroglyph for “b,” which appears above the figure and is probably the last sign of his name, suggests this is the god named Geb. A column of hieroglyphs records the deity’s wishes for King Djoser: “I give life, stability, dominion, and happiness eternally.”

Relief of King Djoser

This fragment, which have extraordinary historical and religious importance, may be compared with the admirable stele in the funerary complex of Djoser at Saqqara . There is the same subtlety in the way the relief stands out against the background, the same precision in the details, and the same mastery in the carving and arrangement of the large hieroglyphs.

Djoser, also spelled Zoser, founder the 3rd Dynasty of ancient Egypt, who undertook the construction of the earliest important stone building in Egypt. He succeeded his father, Khasekhemwy, the last king of the 2nd Dynasty, and his mother was the queen Nimaathap. His reign, which probably lasted 19 years, was marked by great technological innovation in the use of stone architecture.

Old Kingdom, 3rd Dynasty, ca. 2686-2649 BC. Limestone, from a monument consecrated by king Djoser. Heliopolis, temple area. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. S. 02671/20