Cast of Punt Reliefs, Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

20th century
plaster cast
Overall: 36 × 60 × 6 in. (91.44 × 152.4 × 15.24 cm)

This cast of a relief shows the return of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s fleet from the land of Punt (probably somewhere on the east coast of Africa). In the two lower bands, ships return from the expedition; in the top band, workers unload exotic goods such as myrrh trees and a baboon. The original relief in the funerary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri was carved in raised relief and then painted.

Hatshepsut was one of the few women to rule Egypt and the first female ruler to take the title “pharaoh.” She ruled at the height of Egyptian power in the New Kingdom and undertook many building projects. Despite the popularity and success of her reign, about twenty years after her death, her heir, Thutmose III, sought to destroy all traces of her rule; the reasons for this remain unclear.  

Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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