This beautiful relief was part of the decoration of the tomb well-preserved tomb of King Seti I (KV17) in the Valley of the Kings.
It depicts Seti walking towards the still figure of the goddess Hathor, who played an important role in welcoming the dead to the underworld and accompanying them into the afterlife.
Hathor, Lady of the West, is shown welcoming Seti into her domain and holds out her menat necklace as a symbol of her protection. On the goddess’s wig are the horns of a cow, her sacred animal, and a solar disk showing she is the daughter of Ra. She is named in the hieroglyphic text above using the symbol of a falcon in a building or temple, which reads Hwt-Hr meaning ‘House of Horus’.
Seti is distinguishable by the royal uraeus cobra which stands out in front of his forehead, and by two of his royal names given in cartouches. The left reads Men Maat Ra, meaning ‘Eternal is the Truth of Ra’ and the right reads Wesiri Seti, mer en Ptah, meaning ‘Osiris Seti, beloved of Ptah’.
Their jewellery has the colours of the precious materials from which it was made, including gold, silver, lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian.
The characters’ finery reflects the refinement and elegance of the art from this period and retains some elements of the Amarna style developed fifty years earlier during Akhenaten’s reign.
The original is now in the Musee de Louvre, Paris.