Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Construction of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which was built by Gottfried Semper and Carl von Hasenauer at the bidding of the Emperor Franz Joseph 1, was started in 1871 and completed in 1891. The museum was to become one of Europe's most important monumental museum buildings of the 19th century. It was designed to bring together and house the art and treasures collected by the Habsburg Family over several centuries.
The display area is divided into four large themes: funerary cult, cultural history, sculpture and relief and the development of writing. The halls feature 18th dynasty stone  columns, large statues and many unique and impressive objects. Among the highlights of the museum exhibition are the offering chapel of Kaninisut from the Old Kingdom, numerous sarcophagi and coffins, grave goods such as shabtis, sarcophagi and coffins, and votive stelae, examples of the Book of the Dead, divine figures, pottery, objects of daily life such as clothing and cosmetic articles, and masterpieces of sculpture such as the Reserve Head from Giza.
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Dr. Helmut Satzinger, Professor of Egyptology, University of Vienna, Former Keeper of the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, who so kindly devoted his time and effort during my visit to the Museum.
All photographs were taken by Lenka Peacock in 2010 and are © Kunsthistorisches Museum.
I would also like to thank Jan Kunst from Holland for his constructive comments, corrections and additions to the following text, and to Ingeborg Waanders, also from Holland, for her expertise, support and encouragement.
Stele to Meretseger
From Deir el-Medina
New Kingdom, 19th-20th dynasty
Limestone, painted
Height: 20.7 cm
Width: 14.2 cm
Thickness: 3.3 cm
Meretseger was the goddess associated with the pyramidal peak of al-Qurn. She presided over the whole Theban necropolis. Her name means "she who loves silence". Meretseger was primarily worshipped by the workmen of the royal necropolis.
The top register: remains of a male figure standing on the right making an offering in front of an offering table. Meretseger, who is depicted as a goddess with a female body and a cobra’s head, sits on her throne on the left side of the table holding an ankh sign in her right hand and a sceptre in her left hand. The inscription reads "Merest[sic]eger, Mistress of the West. Made by the apprentice Sha[...?]"
The lower register: the ten serpents represent the cobra- goddess Meretseger. Only seven snakes are visible as the stela is in fragmental state - the bottom left part is broken off.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_122
Provenance: 1824 [1821] gift of Carlo Antonio Fontana
Stele of Khonsu
New Kingdom
20th dynasty, reign of Ramesses III., 1198-1166 BC
From Deir el-Medina (probably)
Limestone, light, fine
Height: 14.2 cm
Width: 9.4 cm
Thickness: 3 cm
This round topped stele is divided into two registers. The upper section is executed in raised relief and shows a ram in the form of criosphinx facing to the left. His head is adorned with the composite crown. A lotus shaped offering table with loaves stands before the ram. The ram almost certainly represents the god Amun-Re.
The lower register is executed in sunk relief and depicts three striding men. The arms of the first man on the right are raised in adoration, the other two men carry scribal palettes and a lotus flower in their left hands.
The lower left corner of the stele is missing.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental
Inv AE_INV_8212
1821 purchase by E. A. Burghart in Egypt
Stele of Pamerihu
New Kingdom
19th dynasty, about 1304-1201 BC
From Deir el-Medina (probably)
Height: 18.95 cm
Width: 12.4 cm
Thickness: 4.6 cm
The round topped stele is a votive relief of the sculptor Pamerihu, who probably lived in Deir el-Medina and worked for the Royal Wife Ahmose-Nefertari (c.1570-1505 BC). She was the wife of the founder of the 18th dynasty Ahmose I (1570-1546 BC) and mother of King Amenhotep I (1525-1504 BC), the first king to be entombed in the Valley of the Kings.
Ahmose-Nefertari and Amenhotep I are often jointly depicted on monuments in Deir el-Medina. Both were worshipped in the settlement.
Ahmose-Nefertari sits on the throne facing right in front of a table with a libation pot. She wears a flowing, pleated dress, typical in representations of elite women of the Ramesside period (about 1295-1069 BC) rather than the period during which the Queen was alive. On her head she wears the vulture head-dress of the goddess Mut, consort of the god Amun of Thebes, surmounted by a sun-disc and ostrich plumes. The cobra on her crown and the flail in her hand indicate her royal status. The lotus blossom was often held by deceased women, thought to be representing rebirth. There is a cartouche of Ahmose-Nefertari within the hieroglyphic inscription consisting of 2 vertical columns in the right upper part of the stele. Another inscription is written in black ink at the bottom of the stele. It consists of 2 horizontal lines of hieroglyphs and contains an offering formula. The inscription is faded in places.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_158
Provenance: 1821 gift of C. A. Fontana
Figured ostrakon of the goddess Meretseger
New Kingdom
19th-20th dynasty, about 1315-1081 BC
From Deir el-Medina (probably)
Painted limestone
Height: 11.3 cm
Length:  16.6 cm
Thickness: 2.9 cm
Depicted on this piece of limestone is the goddess Meretseger in the form of a coiled serpent in front of an offering table flanked on both sides by a jug with an entwined lotus on a stand. Her head dress consists of two tall plumes and a sun disk. Three tall papyrus stalks are leaning above the rear part of the snake.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian -
Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_8304
Provenance: 1948 Purchase
Shabti of Sennedjem
New Kingdom
19th dynasty, around 1300 BC
From Deir el-Medina, Tomb 1 of Sennedjem
Limestone, painted
Height: 28.3 cm
Width: 9.95 cm
Depth:  8.8 cm
Sennedjem lived in Deir el-Medina during the reigns of Seti I (1291-1278) and Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). He was buried along with his wife, Iyinofreti and their family in a tomb in the villages western necropolis not was found intact and contained mummies of three generations of Sennedjem's family along with burial goods and the furniture from his home, which was used during his life. One of Sennedjem's titles was "Servant in the Place of Truth".

Shabtis functioned as substitutes for the dead, their masters, and were expected to take their owner's place in carrying out manual labour in the afterlife. This finely painted limestone shabti of Sennedjem shows a mummiform figure holding agricultural implements. The inscription is skillfully painted in eight horizontal lines of black pigment on white background around the mummiform body and legs. The hieroglyphs bear the name of the owner and parts of Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead (shabti spell) in Middle Egyptian.
"Illuminated is the Osiris, the one who hears the voice in the Place of Truth, Sennedjem true of voice. He says: Oh Shabti, when one commands and apportions the Osiris, the one who hears the voice in the Place of Truth, Sennedjem true of voice, for any work which is to be done in the realm of the dead, then distinguish yourself as a man of duty there, in tilling the fields, watering the banks, and moving sand from east to west. When one commands and apportions you to do this, every day, then you shall say every time: I am here, behold me, every time. The Osiris, the one who hears the voice in the Place of Truth, Sennedjem true of voice"

(Hieroglyphic inscription, transliteration and translation from CD Egyptian Treasures in Europe - 1000 Highlights Multilingual Version v 1.0. 1999 ed.)

Although the shabti acts as a representation of the person, the features of the figurine are standardised so we cannot consider this to be Sennedjem's portrait.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_6614
Provenance: 1901 Purchase
Another shabti of Sennedjem is in the collection of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge see photo and description here
Papyrus Ambras
New Kingdom
20th dynasty, Year 6 of whm-msw.t Ramesses IX
Location: in substance from Thebes
Height: 20.9 cm
Length: 41.2 cm
List of documents written in hieratic script
Rectangular papyrus leaf in horizontal format with two columns in horizontal lines: column on the right consists of nine lines, column on the left of twelve lines. Towards the end of the 20th dynasty declining state resources resulted in shortfalls in ration distribution perhaps not only to the community of workmen at Deir el-Medina. The resulting poverty of the Theban population together with diminishing fear of the authorities had a predictable outcome: by 1064 BC all the major royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings had been looted. The workmen of Deir el-Medina were among the convicted tomb robbers. There are 4 key texts we derive information on the tomb robberies from: Papyrus Abbott (=Papyrus BM 10221), Papyrus Leopold II and Amherst, Papyrus BM 10053 and Papyrus BM 10052.
The 2nd column of the Papyrus Ambras lists several documents - statements and acts of investigation - relating to tomb robberies and the workmen's involvement in them. Among others it lists a receipt of the gold, silver and copper identified as being stolen by the workers of the Necropolis, a statement regarding the copper object the robbers sold from the valley of the Queens, an act of interrogation of the copper smith Wares, who broke into a tomb of noble, and also an act of the interrogation of the tomb robbers Pay, and Qaha Sethemhab.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_3876 (Papyrus Nr. 30)
Provenance: over 1875 Ambras
Acquisition: the name of the papyrus comes from the name of the Habsburg Ambras collection, which contained other art and ethnographical objects. The collection derived its name from the place where it was kept until 1806 - in the castle Ambras in Innsbruck.
Wooden writing board
New Kingdom
19th dynasty, about 13th century BC
Probably from Deir el-Medina
Wood coated with fine stucco, polished
Height: 14.8 cm
Length:  18.5 cm
Thickness: 0.75 cm
Wooden tablets like this one were used for writing and drawing exercises. They are called palimpsests. Successive texts were written on them, each one being erased to make room for the next. This rectangular wooden writing board is coated with a white stucco layer on both sides. There is a small hole near the edge to suspend the board when not in use. Recto and verso have two different texts. The partially defective texts are written in black ink in hieratic, a cursive script based on hieroglyphic script for daily use (for the rapid drafting of letters and accounts). On one side (designated here as verso) there are ten horizontal lines, where lines 2-4 and 7-9 are arranged into columns. Some text is missing, especially line 5. because there is
a crack in gesso that shows on both sides. There are pictures of two baboons, the animal of Thoth, the god of writing, on this side of the board. They might be intended as a caricature of the teacher. Below the baboons there are traces of a drawing of a horse's head. The other side (here designated as recto) has got seven horizontal lines of the text.
(1) The chief gardener Menkheper has been appointed to collect the tpy-fish (?) which are outside from the
poor people that are with the watchman Amenemhat:
(4) Bauef-re
(5) ...
(6) Mut (?)
(7) Sepes-tut
2nd column: Regarding that which was found in the house: the representative Ahmose says to the
represented (and) the speaker of the king Semnakht......
3rd column: what the Court meeting said: Menkheper is right. The guardian Ahmose is wrong.

(1) What the official Amenhotep said:
(2) the royal scribe Minmose said to the scribe Pai the following: "you were brought this message saying I
have been informed by you what you have sent about this, namely: (I) have taken the people that were
taking shelter/were hiding/were seeking protection with the overseer of personnel Nakht away. Why did you
take this action? Did I not assign those people to you after you told (me) "I will not do anything bad?"

(both translated by Ingeborg Waanders from Holland and Lenka Peacock using the German text of El-Kholi and his transcriptions into hieroglyphs, p. 60-62)

The inscription on the board can be dated from the early 19th dynasty. Palaeographical characteristics, such as the sign for
p (in pn), mn (in Imn), m (hr-m) and the plural strokes, can help us date the document.
Lexical features, that aid the dating, can be found in the negation bn and preposition m-dj.
Several Middle Egyptian grammatical features appear in the text, such as the shape sdm.n=f and the negation nn (rather than the Late Egyptian bn). Personal names as Amenemhat, Menkhepere and Ahmose were common from the 18th dynasty.
(El-Kholi, 62)

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection
Inv AE_INV_3924
1877/78 purchase by E. Bergmann Egypt
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Multilingual Version v 1.0. 1999 ed.
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