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Limestone statuette of a priest holding an offering table


Height: 30.200 cm

Gift of the Earl of Carlisle (1889)

EA 21979

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Limestone statuette of a priest holding an offering table

    Said to be from Thebes, Egypt
    18th Dynasty, around 1340 BC

    This statuette is remarkable for the bright appearance of the stone, the modelling of the face, and the emphasis on the lines of the eye.

    It probably came from a tomb, and represents the eldest son of the tomb owner, whose role it was to carry out the rites and duties of the cult of his father. Priests carrying out these roles, usually called sem or iwnmutef priests, are often shown with a sidelock of hair as part of their official costume. Regardless of the real age of the priest, the sidelock emphasises the relative youth of the heir in comparison with the deceased. Here the dark blue colour of the sidelock, contrasting with the black of the wig, seems to indicate that it was in reality a separate hairpiece.

    It has been suggested that the statue represents Thutmose, eldest son of Amenhotep III (1390-352 BC), who died before his father.

    A.P. Kozloff and B.M. Bryan, Egypts dazzling sun: Amenhotep (Cleveland Museum of Art, 1992)

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


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