Fourth Dynasty, reign of Menkaure
Greenish basalt (schist?)
Head and neck: 1. 12.8 cm (5 in.); w. 7.9 cm (3 1/8 in.) Haunches: l. 22.7 cm (9 in.); w. 12.8 cm (5 in.)
Estimated original dimensions: l. 56 cm (22 in.); h. 30 cm (11 7/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 11.721ab
The head and hindquarters are all that remain of a canid with upraised head shown reclining on a thick plinth. The snout and ears are missing, and only the stump of the tail is left at the back of the plinth; the rest of the hanging tail was perhaps originally carved as part of a separate base. The modeling of the eyes, bones, and tendons of the head and neck and of the musculature of the legs is subdued but very fine. The eyes are both more frontal and more ovoid than true canine eyes, and thus appear more human. Apparently unfinished, the piece is worn from reuse as a grindstone.
These fragments were found in the later levels of Menkaure’s valley temple, where they and many other unfinished statues and fragments had apparently been deposited during the temple’s history of rebuilding and decay.1
Divine statuary from the Old Kingdom is rarely preserved, and little is certain about temples of the gods during this period.2 Most of what is extant comes from Fourth Dynasty royal pyramid complexes, where certain gods were present to support the king’s cult: in addition to this statue of Anubis, group statues of kings with the great goddesses Bastet (perhaps also Sakhmet) and Hathor were found in the valley temples of the Fourth Dynasty kings.3 In fact, Anubis and Hathor both had particularly important if not entirely clear roles in royal cult temples from the Old Kingdom through the Middle Kingdom and certainly into the New Kingdom; it has been suggested that in the New Kingdom the two might be understood as counterparts—Anubis as the embalmer who brought the king to life eternally and Hathor as the goddess who could ensure his eternal rebirth and youth-fulness.4 Perhaps already in the Old Kingdom the presence of Anubis was similarly basic to the king’s cult. MH
- One of the nearby fragments was a base on which Menkaure was named «beloved of Sokar,» another god with funerary associations; Reisner 1931, p. 113(39).
- See Grimm, Schoske, and Wildung 1997, p. 146, for a statue fragment of Khnum as a ram, inscribed for Khufu. For recent investigations regarding early divine temples, see O’Connor 1992, pp. 83-98, and D. Arnold 1996, pp.39-54.
- Seidel 1996, pp. 10-49. The small face of an alabaster baboon was found in front of the pyramid temple of Khafre (Krauspe 1997b, pp. 120-21).
- Quirke (1997, pp. 44-45) discusses New Kingdom evidence and reflects on its meaning for the erratic evidence of the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
Provenance: Giza, valley temple of Menkaure, room (II/III)2, Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Reisner 1931, pp. 36,114 (45), pl. 64a; Holden 1981, pp. 99-103; Grimm, Schoske, and Wildung 1997, p. 146
Hard yellow limestone
H. 30.5 cm (12 in.); w. 21.5 cm (8 1/2 in.); d. 16 cm (6 1/4 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 13.3140
Although uninscribed, this statue was found in the tomb of Khuen-re, son of Kha-merer-nebti II and Menkaure (?),1 and certainly represents him. The prince sits cross-legged on a base that is straight in front and rounded in back. On the kilt stretched taut between his legs he rests his left hand palm downward; his right hand is broken away but was probably clenched and turned downward on his lap.2 The toe of his right foot is seen from the front and its nail and cuticle are carefully indicated.3 Differences between the finish of the face and that of the body have been thought to indicate that the piece was not completed. In any case, it is clear that the stocky neck, body, and legs are minimally modeled.
The head sits low on the short neck, and the face is slightly raised. The smooth, flaring wig emphasizes the roundness of the face. Beneath smoothly curved natural brows, the eyes are finely drawn, with slightly puffy eyelids and rimmed upper edges. The nose and mouth are similarly well defined, the latter drooping noticeably on the left.
Fine-grained hard yellow limestone— a material that lends itself to clarity of detail and the illusion of warm, soft texture —has been employed for the statue. This stone was used at various periods but always rarely, another such instance apparently being the fragmentary statue of Princess Nefer-hetepes, daughter of King Djedefre, in the Louvre (E 12628).4
The cross-legged sitting position shown here was reserved during the Fourth Dynasty for men who styled themselves «king’s eldest son.»5 Some figures, such as this one, adopt the simple pose with no other attributes, while others add the papyrus and implements of a scribe; since both variations existed from the beginning, it is not possible to be sure that the occupation is necessarily implied with the attitude, which may also suggest ease or dependence.6 MH
- See Callender and Janosi 1997, pp. 20-21, for a discussion of these relationships.
- G. Scott 1989, vol. 2, p. 23.
- Ibid., p. 24.
- Ziegler 1997a, pp. 60-61.
- G. Scott 1989, vol. 1, pp. 22-23. See also Ziegler 1997a, pp. 66-67, for discussion and references regarding the title. If the Scribe in the Louvre (fig. 33) is to be identified with Peher-nefer, and that official is to be dated to the Fourth Dynasty as suggested by Ziegler (ibid., p. 208), this point must be qualified.
- G. Scott 1989, vol. 1, pp. 3-8. Roth (1997) discusses the «scribe statue» in relation to serving statuettes.
Provenance: Giza, Menkaure cemetery, MQ 1, found in sand in outer chamber of tomb of Khuen-re, Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Porter and Moss 1974, pp. 293-94; G. Scott 1989, vol. 1, pp. 12-13, vol. 2, pp. 23-25
The subject of sculptors at work is frequently represented on the walls of Old Kingdom tomb chapels. Sharing the same shops as joiners and smiths, sculptors and painters do not seem to have enjoyed special status.1 Although all of them did not vanish into anonymity—sometimes a proper name is written over the figure of a busy artist—they did not sign their work, with the possible exception of a statue of King Djoser, the remains of which bear the name «Imhotep.»2 Most often, the statues shown in such scenes are completed, although the artisans are still actively at work. In the tomb of Ti, two men are shown beside a wood statue. They are using joiners’ tools: adze, hammer, chisel, and coarse stone for polishing the work of art. Nearby, comfortably seated, sculptors are depicted roughing out a stone statue with heavy pieces of rock attached to handles.3 They will shape the forms with a chisel and mallet or with stone pounders; then the work will be polished with pebbles and an abrasive paste with a sand or emery base. Finally, the finishing touches: color will be applied. A scene from the tomb of Mer-si-ankh depicts an «outline draftsman» named Rahay, with a brush in one hand and a shell-shaped palette for mixing pigments in the other.4
But there is no picture of the extraction and transportation of the stone block, which was cut from the quarry with stone picks and wood wedges, and no information on the initial roughing out in the workshop. There is no depiction of the preparation and assembly of wood statues either; generally, different parts were shaped separately and then put together. Along with the tools found by archaeologists (see cat. nos. 74, 75), it is the unfinished pieces that allow us to understand how the work progressed. In the valley temple of Menkaure a sculptors’ workshop was discovered, still filled with stone statues that had been abandoned at different stages in their execution (see entry for cat. no. 73).
By examining completed statues, archaeologists have been able to confirm and clarify the nature of this work. Limestone statues show that the stone pounder was used only for the first roughing out; the rest of the work was done with a copper chisel, held either at a slant—thus functioning as a stonemason’s point—or level, as was generally the custom. Numerous striations resulting from abrasion can be seen on the surface of statuary. The artist did not exploit the properties of soft stone: there is no openwork, no lacework, no hollowing out, nor are there pronounced effects of shadow and light.5 Limestone is carved as if it imposed the same constraints on the artist as granite or diorite. Identifiable on statues made of hard stone are marks from such tools as pounders and burins, which were used to strike the stone directly. It is these stone tools, probably fashioned from dolerite, that gave working in granite its specificity. Furthermore, it is known that Egyptian artists of forty-five hundred years ago had copper saws and drills capable of shaping hard stone. Looking at the perfect polish and fine details of works in granite, we can only marvel at the Egyptian sculptor’s technical mastery.
Examination of wood statues reveals chisel marks running in all directions; particularly pronounced on certain statues, they reinforced the adhesiveness of the plaster that was applied to the statue as a whole. Elements generally executed separately, namely, the arms and front part of the feet, were attached to the body of the figure by mortise and tenon. Small pegs filled in surface irregularities. These pegs were concealed by a layer of plaster, which might be quite thick. Plaster was used to accentuate details of nose or mouth and sometimes changed the proportions of the statue. Plaster might also be applied to stone statues, especially on the kilt, where thick layers of it were sometimes used to form narrow pleats. Color completed the work and gave it a realistic quality. In fact, however beautiful and well finished the stone or wood, most Egyptian statues display traces of original paint.6 The grain and warm tones of quartzite naturally mimic the texture of skin, yet King Djedefre’s portraits in this medium were nonetheless covered with vibrant colors. Large areas painted in red still survive on the forehead and temples of the head now in the Louvre (cat. no. 54); and on other fragments hieroglyphs display abundant traces of blue-green paint. CZ
- Drenkhahn 1976, pp. 65-69, 159-61; Eaton-Krauss 1984; D. Arnold 1991; Vercoutter 1993, pp. 70-83.
- Pedestal, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, JE 49889.
- Eaton-Krauss 1984, kiv 26.
- Ibid., pls. 1, 3.
- Zuber 1956, p. 161.
- Reutersward 1958.
Fourth Dynasty, reign of Menkaure
H. 35.2 cm (13 7/8 in.); w. 18 cm (7 1/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 11.730
While exploring Menkaure’s valley temple at Giza, an expedition from Boston uncovered a sculptors’ workshop containing no fewer than fourteen unfinished statuettes of the king, some hardly begun, others ready to receive their final buffing. All depict the pharaoh in the same pose, seated on a cubic throne with his hands on his knees. He wears the nernes headcloth, and the statuettes nearest completion show the two hands in different positions—the right in a closed fist, the left flat. All the figures wear a false beard and the shendyt kilt. This is the classic image of the pharaoh, which famous works such as the seated statue of Khafre with the Horus falcon (fig. 28) and the colossal alabaster figure of Menkaure (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 09.204) immortalize on a majestic scale. These statuettes in different stages of completion clearly illustrate how the sculptor, beginning with a quadrangular block of hard stone, gradually carved out the figure of a seated man. The base preserves the dimensions of one side of the block, and the seat conveys an impression of its shape.
After a careful study of the series, George Reisner identified eight different stages in the work. Using red paint, the artist began by sketching a geometric silhouette on a block of diorite. This first stage is illustrated by one of the statuettes (above left), which displays no details. At the second stage, illustrated by the present example (center), the protuberance of the head, the contours of the right arm, and the seat are visible. Next, the artist again used red lines, this time to mark out the face, arms, and hands. By the sixth stage (above right), the details were complete. The statuette had only to be polished and the inscriptions carved. The end product seems all the more remarkable when one realizes that Egyptian sculptors used extremely rudimentary tools to work their exceptionally hard stone. CZ
Provenance: Giza, valley temple of Menkaure, Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Reisner 1931, pp. 112-13, pls. 62, 63; Anthes 1941, pl. 17a; Porter and Moss 1974, pp. 30-31; Davis 1989, p. 96, fig. 5.1
a. L. 13 cm (5 1/8 in.); b. L. 12.2 cm (4 3/4 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition (a) 13.3428, (b) 13.3426
Provenance: Giza, tomb of Impy (G 2381 Z), Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Petrie 1917, pl. 22; Scheel 1989, pp. 47-58; Seipel 1992, pp. 456-57, no. 187.
Fourth to Fifth Dynasty
L. 13 cm (5 1/8 in.); w. 9 cm (3 1/2 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 2.7.1550
This stone was used as a hammer. CZ
Provenance: Giza, debris above tomb G 72.42, Reisner excavation, 1927
Bibliography: Seipel 1992, pp. 456-57, no. 187
Fourth Dynasty, probably reign of Menkaure
Max. l. 12 cm (4 3/4 in.); max. w. 8 cm (3 1/8 in.); max. d. 11 cm (43/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 11.34910
During his excavations in the valley temple of Menkaure, George Reisner found this stone implement, which appears to be a forerunner of the pulley (fig. 118). In its rounded head are three smooth grooves to guide thick ropes. In the broken shaft is a hole for a peg.1 An undamaged tool of this type was discovered at Giza during Selim Hassan’s excavations in the pyramid city of Khent-kawes I.2 Judging from the shape of their heads, these tools were used to shift ropes, altering the direction of the pull by approximately 45 degrees, using Hassan’s example, and 90 degrees using Reisner’s example. They were probably set into wooden poles or scaffolding and secured by means of pegs through holes in the shaft. Depending on whether this device was set vertically or horizontally, it could have been used to raise and lower heavy objects or to pull them into position in a confined space. CHR
- The estimated original dimensions of this piece are recorded in D. Arnold 1991 as 37 centimeters long and 16 centimeters wide.
- Hassan 1943, p. 44, pl. 18a,b; also mentioned in Lehner 1997, p. 211.
Provenance: Giza, valley temple of Menkaure, Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Reisner 1931, p. 272, pl. a ; D. Arnold 1991, pp. 282-83, fig- 6.45
Fourth or Fifth Dynasty
H. 63.6 cm (25 1/8 in.)
Ägyptisches Museum, Universität Leipzig 2560
The extraordinarily well preserved red and black paint and the vivacity of the gaze give this statue a very engaging quality. Memi is sitting on a cubic support, both hands on his knees, right hand flat, left fist closed around an enigmatic object. The head and upper body are slightly turned to the left, in a movement rather unusual in Egyptian art. The priest is dressed in a plain, immaculately white kilt and wears a wesekh, or broad collar, and a bracelet around the left wrist. His expressive face is framed by a short, curly wig that closely hugs the temples and falls low on the neck in back. The very large eyes and the eyebrows are emphasized with black paint. There is a fine mustache. The modeling of the torso is very rudimentary, and the legs are heavy and thick. The disproportionate size of the head, the hairstyle, and the disorder in the hieroglyphs carved in the seat contribute a touch of archaism that calls into question the Fifth Dynasty date usually assigned to the statue.
Each side of the seat bears an inscription. To the right of the figure can be read: «Wab Priest of the King, Memi, who walks on the beautiful paths on which the honored walk.» To the left: «The Wab Priest of the King, Memi, who says: ‘I had these statues made by the sculptor, who was satisfied by the payment I gave him.'» The second inscription is particularly interesting, since it indicates that the ancient Egyptians were concerned with asserting their property rights. The custom of noting them in writing goes back to the Fourth Dynasty.1 Quite often inscriptions on mastabas attest that the tomb and its equipment belong to the deceased, either as a gift from the pharaoh or as a duly remunerated private commission.
A second statue sculpted for Memi, now in the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim (2) is known; like this one, it was discovered in a niche of his chapel. CZ
1. See the inscription of Prince Neb-em-akhet, son of Khafre (Porter and Moss 1974, p. 230); for an example from the Fifth or early Sixth Dynasty, see cat. no. 154.Provenance: Giza, Western Cemetery, section known as Steindorff cemetery, found March 22, 1905, in niche of mastaba chapel D 32A, University of Leipzig-Pelizaeus-Museum excavation, 1903-7; gift of the Egyptian Government as part of the division of finds
Bibliography: Steindorff 1910, p. 156; Sethe 1933, vol. I p. 225 (4); Junker 1950, p. 74; Helck 1956, p. 66; Ikuinen 1973, p. 121, no. 281; Porter and Moss 1974, p. 110; Blumenthal 1984, p. 550; Eaton-Krauss 1984, p. 80; Krauspe 1987, no. 18; Steindorff and Hölscher 199t, p. 41; Steinmann 1991, p. 157; Krauspe 1997a, pp. 34-35, fig. 31; Krauspe 1997b, pp. 51— 5 3, no. 101.
78. Relief of Mer-ib
Painted acacia wood
H. 83 cm (32 3/4 in.); w. 41.5 cm (16 3/8 in.); d. 4.7 cm (1 7/8 in.)
Musée du Louvre, Paris n 3389
This rare acacia panel is bordered by two vertical moldings that frame the image of a man moving to the left, holding a sekhem scepter in his left hand and supporting himself with a long staff in his right. He is wearing a short curly wig that conceals his ears, a kilt with knotted belt, and a feline pelt fastened to the right shoulder with a large knot. Two bracelets and a short necklace with a pendant flanked by two tubular beads complete his costume. The ideogram for «libation» is sculpted in front of his face. At the top of the panel a horizontal text carved in large hieroglyphs indicates his identity: «Royal Acquaintance, Mer-ib.» There are abundant traces of paint—green to outline the eye, red for the face—applied over a plaster coating.
In the lower right corner a second figure is depicted in very reduced dimensions. Only his head and body above the waist have been preserved. This man with crudely modeled features is moving to the left, as Mer-ib does; his hair is close-cropped and he wears a pendant like Mer-ib’s. The vertical inscription says this is «the steward Nedjem-ib,» son or servant of Mer-ib.
Because of their fragility, Egyptian reliefs on wood are rare. Those of Chief of Dentists Hesi -re, a contemporary of Djoser (cat. no. 17), are the most famous. They look like stelae and were inserted into brick architecture following the same principle as decorations in the royal tomb. The relief with Mer-ib was long compared to this sort of independent panel, but as the orientation of the figures and the assembly holes on the back suggest, it seems probable that the relief is the right jamb of a false door. Many characteristics suggest a date for this work in the Fourth Dynasty: the large hieroglyphs, pronounced relief, simplicity of forms, pendant,1 and wig with a high crown.1 CZ
1. Cherpion 1989, p. 87, criterion 35. 2. Ibid., p. 55, criterion 28.
Provenance: Giza or Saqqara; Clot Bey collection; purchased 1852
Bibliography: Weill 1908, pp. 235-36; Junker 1944, p. 181; Smith 1946, pp. 172, 276; Porter and Moss 1979, p. 746; Ziegler 1990b, pp. 104-7, no. 16.
Fourth Dynasty, late reign of Khufu to mid-reign of Khafre
H. 95 cm (37 3/8 in.); w. 109.5 cm (43 1/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition 07.1002
This relief comes from the chapel of G 2110, one of the core mastabas located in cemetery 2100, to the west of the Great Pyramid at Giza. It was excavated during the 1905-6 field season and was reexamined in 1932-37. The chapel had been partially dismantled
by the late 1850s, when relief blocks were presented to Prince Napoleon by the viceroy of Egypt,1 but a number remained in place, including this one, which was part of the north doorjamb of the chapel entrance. The angle of the right edge of the block reflects the slope of the chapel facade. The decoration depicts the tomb owner, Nefer, facing out of his mastaba. In front of him are three columns of hieroglyphs that give his name and titles. The text began on the block above, which has never been located. Nefer’s name and principal title, Overseer of the Treasury, are written in the two lines of hieroglyphs directly in front of his face.2
At the lower right, the smaller figures of four scribes face Nefer, who was also an overseer of two categories of scribes.3
The figure of Nefer is carved in relatively low relief, with very little indication of musculature except around the knees. More attention was paid to the face, where the eye has been modeled and the nose has been accentuated by the careful rounding of the front of the cheek.
Like the larger figure of Nefer, the bodies of the four scribes are relatively flat, except around the faces and knees. However, they are noteworthy because of the details included by the sculptor. Each scribe is named: Neferu, Weni,4 Khenti-kauef, and Senenu-ka. The last was the owner of a small mastaba (G 2041) adjoining Nefer’s tomb. Each man is shown with individualized scribal equipment: Neferu and Khenti-kauef both carry a supply of ink in a shell, whereas the other two men bear the customary rectangular ink holder. Because all four face left, the artist represented them in a most interesting manner. In typical Egyptian fashion, the last three in the line are shown with the upper torso facing the viewer. Each has his right arm forward and his left arm back. The pose of the first scribe is different, however, because he is shown writing. In order to avoid depicting him as left-handed, the artist has twisted his torso so that the viewer sees the back of his shoulders, thus shifting his left arm forward and allowing him to write with his right hand. The same type of representation occurs on a block from inside the chapel, where four squatting scribes who are facing left also have their shoulders twisted so that they can be depicted as right-handed.5
Nefer’s tomb has been dated convincingly to the years between the end of Khufu’s reign and the middle of Khafre’s.6 When the tomb was excavated, a reserve head (see «Reserve Heads» by Catharine H. Roehrig in this catalogue and cat. nos. 46-49) was found in the burial chamber. Taken by itself, this fact suggests a date during the reign of Khufu, since the majority of the reserve heads in the Western Cemetery at Giza are apparently of his time. But reserve heads are almost always found in association with a mud-brick chapel containing a simple slab-stela type of relief decoration (cat. nos. 51-53),7 and Nefer’s tomb has an extensively decorated stone offering chapel. In fact, G 2110 is the only mastaba that has both a decorated offering chapel and a reserve head. Although Nefer’s reserve head and decorated chapel may be contemporary, it is also possible that the chapel was a later addition, built after Nefer’s burial. In a recent article on slab stelae Der Manuelian
has suggested that there may be a slab stela or a slab-stela emplacement in the mastaba’s core, behind the massive outer casing stones, which were not removed when Reisner excavated the tomb.8 Whether or not this proves to be the case, the presence of the reserve head does not necessarily suggest a date for the chapel, nor do the reliefs necessarily indicate a date for the reserve head. CHR
- Smith 1942, pp. 509-10; Ziegler 1990b, p. 167.
- For a full list of his titles, see Reisner 1942, p. 422; and Strudwick 1985, p. 109.
- Overseer of Scribes of Crews [or Sailors] and Overseer of Scribes of the King’s Documents.
- Weni was Scribe of the House of the Master of Largesse; see Gardiner 1938, p. 88.
- This block, now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, is illustrated in a drawing in Reisner 1942, fig. 242; see also Jorgensen 1996, pp. 46-47. This is not an example of the pseudo-rear view, as described by Fischer (1984a, cols. 187-91), but rather a conscious attempt to indicate the right-handedness of the scribes. Another tomb in which this occurs is G 7948 (Lepsius 1849-58, vol. 2, pl. 9). The artist responsible for a relief in the Saqqara tomb of Ra-shepses (ibid., pl. 64) took the opposite approach: the scribes facing left are right-handed, those facing right are left-handed, and in both cases the result is very awkward. It is interesting to note that in scenes where an artisan is using a tool that requires some degree of manual dexterity, that person, whether facing left or right, is usually depicted holding the tool in the right hand. Except in the case of a scribe, who must hold his palette in front of him, the artisan’s torso almost never had to be twisted so that the back of the shoulders faces the viewer.
- Reisner 1942, pp. 306-7; Smith 1946, p. 163. See Strudwick 1985, pp. 109-10; and Cherpion 1989, pp. 119-20, among others.
- Two other reserve heads have been found in mastabas whose chapels contained decorated false doors (Iabtit’s, G 4650, and Snefru-seneb’s, G 4240), but see «Reserve Heads» by Catharine H. Roehrig, note 40, in this catalogue.
- Der Manuelian 1998a, p. 121, n. 31.
Provenance: Giza, Western Cemetery, mastaba G 2110, Reisner excavation
Bibliography: Reisner 1942, pp. 422-25, pls. 29-33; Smith 1946, p. 163, pl. 48e
Fourth Dynasty, probably reign of Khafre
Limestone with remains of paint
H. 53 cm (20 7/8 in.); w. 26 cm (10 1/4 in.); d. 38 cm (15 in.)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna As 7507
Lady Khentet-ka is posed on a high-backed seat, her hands pressed flat on her knees and her legs parallel to each other. At her right, depicted on a smaller scale, stands her son Rudju, his back against the seat. The lady’s radiant face is framed by a medium-length wig, with every lock finely scored. Her natural hair, parted in the center, appears on the forehead. Although her face is plump, the features—small, full mouth and almond-shaped eyes with rimmed upper eyelids—are delicately shaped. Her neck is short, her shoulders are broad, and her chest is minimally modeled. Seen through the tight dress, which is clearly perceptible only at the lower edge, is a stocky body with a stout waist; the ankles are exceptionally heavy. Traces of color are still visible. They indicate the outline of a broad collar (wesekh) on the chest and supply the yellow tone conventional for women’s skin.
The little boy has the usual attributes of childhood: he is nude, wears his hair in the braid called «the sidelock of youth,» and holds his index finger to his mouth. The sculptor has captured particularly well the chubby body of early childhood, with its round belly, in which the navel is deeply inscribed, and the plump face. On either side of the figures two vertical inscriptions incised on the front of the seat give their identity: «Royal Acquaintance Khent, daughter of Khent,» and «Royal Acquaintance Rudju, son of the Royal Acquaintance Khent.» «Khentet-ka,» the lady’s real name as it is written on the walls of her offering chapel, has been shortened here.
The statue was discovered in a mastaba at Giza by Austrian archaeologists. The tomb belonged to Khentet-ka’s husband, the high official Nesut-nefer, one of whose titles was «priest of Khafre.» Although the chapel was shared by husband and wife— its decoration tells us that Nesut-nefer and Khentet-ka had eight sons and nine daughters—they each had their own serdab. The statue of Nesut-nefer (Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim, 2143) depicts him seated, wearing a round wig that hugs his head.1 His skin was painted a vivid red, a color traditionally reserved for men.
The tomb has been dated to the Fifth Dynasty since its discovery; however, the style of the subject’s own hair and the fact that she has the same name as King Djede-fre’s wife strongly suggest a date in the Fourth Dynasty, probably in the reign of Khafre, Djedefre’s successor.2 CZ
- Compare with the statues of Peher-nefer (Louvre, Paris, N 118) and of Huti (cat. no. 86).
- Cherpion 1989, p. 114.
Provenance: Giza, Western Cemetery, mastaba of Nesut-nefer (G 4970), German-Austrian excavation, 1913-14; gift of the Egyptian Government as part of the division of finds
Bibliography: Junker 1938, pp. 185-87, pl. 19b; 5000 Jahre Ägyptische Kunst 1961, no. 44; Komorzinsky 1965, fig. 17; Hornemann 1951-69, vol. 5 (1966), no. 1290; Porter and Moss 1974, p. 144; Satzinger 1987, p. 16, fig. 4; Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien 1988, p. 21; Cherpion 1989, p. 114; Seipel 1992, pp. 126-27, no. 28; Jaros-Deckert and Rogge 1993, pp. 61-67; Cherpion 1998, pp. 100, 115, 131, fig. 5