Votive Ear Stele of Usersatet
The ear stele of Usersatet was dedicated to the goddess Nebethetepet, “she who listens to prayers”. It is decorated with four ears in the hope that the deity would hear and answer to the requests of the dedicator.
Originally from Heliopolis, Nebethetepet was a deity who was associated with Hathor and there is even evidence for her cult during the Old Kingdom. Stele decorated with one or more ears have been discovered not only in the village of Deir el-Medina but also at other New Kingdom sites.
They were dedicated to various deities such as Ptah, Hathor or Amun-Re, who were also defined as “he/she who listens to prayers”.
This small, rectangular stele is carved in low relief with two pairs of ears pierced in the lobe to hang earrings. Depictions of ears on stele were common in New Kingdom Egypt. They related to a new religious concept in which the relationship between the individual and a god was closer and did not necessarily have to rely on the mediation of a priest. The ears are a reference to the divinity listening to the prayers of the faithful, who turn to the god in search of favors such as the curing of diseases.
Usersatet (Viceroy of Kush) under king Amenhotep II dedicated this limestone stele to the goddess Nebethetepet ( “Lady of the Offerings” or “Satisfied Lady”). In order to ask the goddess to listen to his prayer, the stele is decorated with the drawing of four ears.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550-1292 BC. Limestone, 17.5 x 14 x 5.3 cm. From Deir el-Medina, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. Cat. 1546