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V28 W14

M17 M17
in hieroglyphs
R, ά
in hieroglyphs
Archaeological excavation at the Mastaba of Hesy-Ra in November 2010

Hesy-Ra (alt. Hesire, Hesira) was an official, physician (possibly the first known in history)[1] and scribe who lived during the Third dynasty of Egypt, served under the pharaoh Djoser, and was buried in an elaborate tomb at Saqqara. He bore titles such as "Chief of Dentists and Physicians"[2] and "Chief of the King's Scribes".

Wooden panel set of Hesy-Ra[edit]

The wooden panels of Hesy-Ra are rare examples of high execution of hieroglyphs on wood. The panels are in raised bas relief and have some of the oldest forms of the Egyptian language hieroglyphs. The panels contain titles of Hesy-Ra and a thematic portrayal of him in different poses.

There were originally 11 panels, but only 6 of them have survived. These 6 panels were used as a cover for his mud brick tomb.

These panels are carved with the figures of tomb's owner in different poses and ages.

Hesy-Ra in the prime of life - He is depicted here with all signs of nobility ;

  • Standing with his left feet leg forward.
  • Wearing a straight wig.[3]
  • Hesy-Ra holds in his right hand the ḫrp scepter as a sign of power and nobility.
  • In his left hand, the scribal equipment consisting of palette with two inkwells and a leather bag for supplies.
  • He wears a kilt with a belt on his waist.

Kamrin translates the 4-vertical columns as:[4]

1-"Elder of the Qed-hetep; father of Min
2-Fashioner of the cult image of Mehyt, king's acquaintance
3-Overseer of the royal scribes;
Great one of the 10 of Upper Egypt

Hesy-Ra in Old-age He is seated on a lion's paws stool (block of stone) in front an offering table. He wears a curly hair wig and a long garment covering his body except for the right shoulder and arm. His arm is extended towards the offering table and the left arm is folded on his chest. The scribal equipments are depicted upon his right shoulder . The hieroglyphic inscriptions give the titles of Hesy-Ra.

Hesy-Ra as a young man He is standing with the two arms a long his body and the hands are free. The scribal equipments are shown on his right shoulder. He wears a short curly wig.


  1. ^ Adolphe Gutbub, Mélanges Adolphe Gutbub, Université de Montpellier 1984, p.190
  2. ^ Helaine Selin, Hugh Shapiro, Medicine Across Cultures: History and Practice of Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Springer 2003, p.35
  3. ^ El-Shahawy, Abeer (2005). The Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Dar al-Mushaf. p. 63. ISBN 978-9771721833. 
  4. ^ Kamrin, 2004. Lesson 34: Titles and Filiation on Monuments, Object 6: Wooden Panel of Hesyre, p. 126-127; p. 220.
  5. ^ Kamrin, 2004, p. 220.


External links[edit]