Lunette (stele)

Stele, with Decree of Nectanebo I. (Lunette of the top 1/3 of stele.)

The lunette spatial region in the upper portion of stelas, became common for steles as a prelude to a stele's topic. Its major use was from ancient Egypt in all the various categories of steles: funerary, Victory Steles, autobiographical, temple, votive, etc.

The lunettes are most common from ancient Egyptian steles, as not only is the topic of the stele presented, but honorific gods, presenters, individuals, etc. are previewed, and often with Egyptian hieroglyphic statements.

The main body of the stele is then presented below, often separated with a horizontal line (register), but not always. In Egyptian steles, many have horizontal lines of hieroglyphs; often the lunette will contain shorter vertical statements in hieroglyphs, sometimes just names of the individuals portrayed, hieroglyphs in front, or behind the individual.

19th Dynasty Egypt, post Amarna

Personal votive stela.

From the post-Amarna period onwards, many personal stelas made exhortations to the deities. Stelas to specific gods: "were erected to intervene personally with the local god, often to seek justice or offer an explanation for things that had gone wrong in their lives. The deceased is shown kneeling, holding up his hands in prayer, ....."[1] Some of the personal votive stelas had ears (hieroglyphs), to represent the gods listening to the supplicant.[2]

Ancient Eyptian gallery

Non-Egyptian stele gallery


  1. Hobson, 19th Dyn. stele to Ram-god, with 6 ears (hieroglyphs), p 17
  2. Hobson, Ibid., p 17

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