Fragment of a Model Obelisk
Egyptian alabaster, 2 13/16 in. (7.2 cm) Base: 1 1/8 x 1 1/4 in. (2.8 x 3.2 cm)
New Kingdom, Dyn. 18, reign of Thutmose II, ca 1481-1479 B.C.E.)
Provenance not known, Brooklyn #05.333, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund

Handle of Model Ax Inscribed for Amunhotep III
Lapis Lazuli, 1 15/16 x 1 3/8 in. (4.9 x 3.5 cm)
New Kingdom, Dyn. 18, ca. 1390 - 1352 B.C.E.
From Saqqara, Brooklyn #37.280E, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Photo © Joan Lansberry, May 2008-2016

(From the info card)
"An obelisk is a four-sided, tapering stone pillar with a pyramidal top called a benben. The benben represents the primordial mound where the Egyptians believe the sun god stood when he created the universe. Huge obelisks in front of temples symbolized solar creation. The size of this piece suggests that it once belonged to a temple model, such as the Dynasty 19 model gateway exhibited in the Later Egypt gallery."

(_Reading Egyptian Art_, page 9)0

Richard Wilkinson explains this Heliopolitan view of the benben:
"Like the sun, the heron rose from the primeval waters and its Egyptian name, benu, was probably derived from the word weben: to 'rise' or 'shine.' The stately wading bird was also associated with the Nile inundation; standing alone on isolated rocks or patches of high ground in the midst of the waters, the heron fittingly rose from the watery chaos of the original creation. This mound was probably the origin of the ben-ben, the pyramidal or cone-shaped sacred stone of Heliopolis whith which the phoenix was associated, and which was depicted in the hieroglyph of the perched heron." (_Reading Egyptian Art_, page 91)