Palace of Apries Gateway


Limestone fragments from a decorated gateway at the palace of Apries. Fine raised relief decoration depicted King Apries in the regalia of the sed-festival (or jubilee), performing a ritual to prove he is fit to rule. The excavator, Flinders Petrie, believed the gateway was originally decorated with six scenes, three on each side of the passage. More recently it has been suggested by Werner Kaiser that there was also a decorated lintel. In 1909 Liverpool were given eight fragments that Petrie thought belonged to one scene. In 1988 Kaiser made corrections to Petrie’s reconstructions and places five of Liverpool’s fragments at the top of the gateway, forming another scene on the lintel, together with pieces from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. These five fragments preserve a scene showing six courtiers carrying symbolic items pivotal to the sed-festival: fans, door-hinges and a scorpion; a column of hieroglyphic text reads, “He is the leader of the living kas, his heart is enlarged before the gods”; and a sky motif with some blue paint preserved. Three other fragments preserve a scene of the king with only one arm and one leg remaining. The king wears a bull’s tail suspended from the waist. Three men, shown at a smaller scale, stand behind the king. Hieroglyphic captions identify them as a lector priest, a noble and commander of the palace, and a chamberlain of the inner quarters of the palace. Above is a flying falcon carrying a shen-ring.