Basalt block statue of Roy

From the temple of Mut, Karnak, Egypt
19th Dynasty, around 1250 BC

A high priest of Amun of the reign of Ramesses II

The cult of Amun was central to the importance of Thebes, so the high priest of Amun commanded great power. He oversaw a large bureaucracy and a considerable amount of wealth. At the end of the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) the high priests effectively ran Upper Egypt, and some of them were even to use the title of king.

Roy was the high priest in the later part of the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), and may have survived into the time of his successor Merenptah (1213-1203 BC). He commissioned several statues of himself. This block statue is one of four from the Temple of Mut at Karnak. Roy is shown presenting a large sistrum (rattle-like instrument), a symbol sacred to the goddess Hathor. The head of Roy is shown with a slightly oval face and elaborate shoulder-length wig, typical of the Ramesside period.

Roy was buried on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes in the area known as Dra Abul Naga, where there is a large and prominent group of tombs of Ramesside high priests; his tomb is given the number 283.

The statue was discovered by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, and came to the British Museum after the Treaty of Alexandria.

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More information


T.G.H. James and W.V. Davies, Egyptian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)

S. Quirke, Ancient Egyptian religion (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

R. Schulz, Die Entwicklung und Bedeutung (Hildesheim, 1992)

T.G.H. James (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-2, Part 9 (London, The British Museum Press, 1970)


Height: 88.000 cm

Museum number

EA 81


Gift of King George III


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