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Saqqara: 3rd Dynasty cedar relief sculpture of Hesy-Ra

Wooden relief sculpture of Hesy Ra from Saqqara tomb (Cairo Museum; AE 1915-1).

Hesy-Ra, whose name means "blessed by Ra", was a high official during the reign of Djoser in the early 3rd dynasty (ca. 2630-2610 BC). Hesy-Ra's mastaba tomb (S-2405), discovered in 1861 by Auguste Mariette and Jacques de Morgan,
was located about 250 m NE of king Djoser's pyramid at Saqqara. Excavations from 1910-1912 by British archaeologist James Quibell showed the mastaba was 43 x 22 m in area and 5 m high. It was built of hardened mud brick walls originally covered with white limestone. A long corridor led to several inner rooms and altars.

The tomb contained cedar wood panels carved and incised with scenes of Hesy-Ra's life, such as that above, where he is shown as a young man.
The large hieroglyphics above the figure with the name of Hesy-Ra are carved in an individualized, pictorial style typical of some third dynasty inscriptions. His tomb also was decorated with interior and exterior mural paintings with colorful geometric and reed mat patterns. Seals found within the tomb identified Hesy-Ra with a number of titles, including "confidant of the king", and "master of the scribes".


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