Graywacke statue of Meryankhre Mentuhotep VI

Probably from Thebes, said to come from Karnak Temple, Egypt
Late 13th Dynasty (about 1675-1650 BC)

A figure of strength and vigour

This small statue shows the Egyptian king Meryankhre Mentuhotep VI in a standing or striding position. The stance suggests vigour and action. It is typical of standing male statues, while women are shown with their feet together.

The short pleated kilt and the nemes headdress are worn only by kings. Wall paintings show the bands of the head-dress in alternating gold and blue colours. It is likely that the headdress was made of cloth. The objects that the king holds in his hands are also often interpreted as cloth, but their meaning is not clear. Another interpretation is that they represent 'negative' (in this case, solid) space, and are a device to ensure that the delicate fingers of the statue are protected from damage.

The facial features of the king are not intended to be a realistic portrayal. His heavy-lidded eyes and large ears are characteristic of the royal statuary of the period. His serious facial expression is intended to convey concern for the well-being of the country, another common feature. The emphasis of the muscles and bones of the torso and limbs of the king convey the impression of physical strength. The muscles around the knees are particularly delicately carved.

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More information

Bibliography

J. Putnam, Egyptology: an introduction to (London, Apple, 1990)

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

J. Bourriau, Pharaohs and mortals: Egyptian (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1988)

Dimensions

Height: 22.000 cm

Museum number

EA 65429

YCA26283

Acquired in 1949, formerly in the collection of Hugh Algernon Percy, Duke of Northumberland

Location

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