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Granite statue of Senmut holding Princess Neferure

  • Detail: upper part of statue

    Detail: upper part of statue

 

Height: 72.500 cm

Acquired in 1906

EA 174

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Granite statue of Senmut holding Princess Neferure

    From the temple of Amun, Karnak, Thebes, Egypt
    18th Dynasty, around 1470 BC

    The most important official of the reign of Hatshepsut

    Senmut was born of relatively humble parents, but rose to high office in the reign of Hatshepsut (1491-1479 BC) and was probably her most trusted official. Here he is shown holding the Princess Neferure, her only daughter.

    Senmut entered royal service in the reign of Thutmose II (1492-1479 BC), who was married to Hatshepsut, his half-sister. The couple had no male heir, and Thutmose II's only son and heir, Thutmose III, was the son of a lesser wife. On Thutmose's death, Hatshepsut was appointed regent for her young nephew, and later took on full royal titles as pharaoh.

    There has been much speculation about Senmut's role during Hatshepsut's reign. By the time that Hatshepsut became regent, Senmut was Neferure's tutor. He had made at least seven statues of himself with Neferure, and this is one of the finest.

    Senmut is shown with his robe wrapped around the princess, emphasizing the close connection between them. He clearly saw his role as tutor as very important, and his success must have played a part in the subsequent favour he enjoyed when Hatshepsut became king. His numerous titles and positions also included the role of steward of Amun. He oversaw royal building works at Thebes and organized the transport and erection of the two great obelisks dedicated to Hatshepsut in the Temple of Amun at Karnak. There is no evidence that he ever married and he is usually depicted only with his parents or with Neferure, leading to suggestions (without evidence) that he was Hatshepsut's lover.

    T.G.H. James, 'Le prétendu "sanctuaire de Karnak" selon Budge', Bulletin de la société françai, 75 (1976), pp. 7-30

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

    C. Meyer, Senenmut. Eine prosopographisc (Hamburg, Borg, 1981)

    E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)

    P.F. Dorman, The monuments of Senenmut (London, 1988)

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