Relief of Trading Scenes of Punt
This sunken relief of trading scenes of Punt is one of many decorated blocks that record the trading expedition sent to the land of Punt by Queen Hatshepsut. Punt was a locality near the Red Sea and the south of Egypt, now southern Sudan or Eritrea or Ethiopia.
The block shows Parehu, the Ruler of Punt, holding a rod. In front of him the Egyptians, guided by Nehsi, present jewelry and an exquisite golden dagger. Standing just behind Parahu is his wife, Ati, who is shown as a fat, deformed person.
It is likely that the Egyptian artist showed her like this because she suffered from the disease known as elephantiasis, which is characterized by the enlargement of a part of the body. It is also likely that the artist exaggerated a little to make a sort of caricature, or comic imitation. The artist recorded all the details of African life. He even depicted small details such as the African collars worn by the Ruler of Punt and his wife and the strokes drawn on their faces.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Hatshepsut, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Carved and painted limestone, from Deir el-Bahari, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 14276