Granodiorite barque bearing a statue of Queen Mutemwia in the guise of the goddess Mut

From Karnak, Egypt
18th Dynasty, around 1400 BC

A sculptural pun

Mutemwia was the principal wife of Thutmose IV (1400-1390 BC) and the mother of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC). She helped establish a temple to the goddess Mut, south-east of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. It is possible that this sculpture may have originated there. It was discovered in the floor of the main sanctuary at Karnak.

The sculpture is almost certainly votive, an object offered to a deity in the hope of fulfilment of a particular wish.

The piece makes great play on the association between the name of the goddess and that of the dedicator; the figure in the boat is probably meant to represent Mutemwia in the guise of Mut. There is also a clever play on the relationship between the two names and the design of the sculpture: Mutemwia means 'Mut is in the barque' which is exactly what the sculpture represents. At the prow of the barque is a sistrum (rattle) with a head of Hathor, a sacred symbol normally associated with women.

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More information

Bibliography

T.G.H. James, Ancient Egypt: the land and it (London, 1988)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Length: 225.000 cm (max.)
Width: 10.500 cm (max.)

Museum number

EA 43

YCA69277;YCA59626

Location

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