We all may have favourite objects when visiting an exhibition - mine are definitely stelae, if not palettes. Stelae in ancient Egypt - called "wedj" - were often used in a votive or commemorative context but were also used as tombstones or boundary markers. They likely originated in the early dynastic period as tomb markers.
Funerary stelae, such as this one, depict the owner of the tomb and the rich offerings they receive from their relatives. A large number of stelae were placed in offering chapels at Abydos or simply erected along the road for the procession for the mysteries of Osiris.
The stela of Kia (Kj-3) shown here was made during the New Kingdom's 18th Dynasty, likely during the reign of Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV. It's painted limestone, 65.5 cms tall (~25 inches). It is presumably from Abydos. It is found today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.
The stela has three different registers. The upper register has 2 sides, on the left hand side we see the god Osiris sitting on a throne, the goddess Isis standing behind him. Above them is a winged sundisk with uraeus. On the right side of the upper register we see the owner of the stela Kia, raising his hand in adoration of the gods in front of an offering table.
In the middle register Kia is sitting on a wonderfully carved chair, holding a lotus flower, symbol of rebirth. A richly laid offering table is in front of him, and we see his wife - Sennufer - and three daughters bringing offerings.
On the lowest register we can see the rest of the family (Kia's five sons) bringing even more offerings.
Want to see more wonderful stelae? Check out our previous article on the Stela of Noferhaut.