Height: 138.000 cm (max.)
Width: 43.100 cm (max.)
Depth: 55.000 cm (max.)
Gift of Samuel Sharpe
Room 4: Egyptian sculpture
Sandstone conglomerate statue of Khaemwaset
From Asyut, perhaps originally from Abydos, Egypt
19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC
A son of Ramesses II bearing standards of the god Osiris
In his long reign, Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) had many sons by a number of different wives. The best-known of these is almost certainly his fourth son Khaemwaset, who has left many traces of his activities in Egypt. Early in his life, Khaemwaset was attached to the cult service of Ptah, the god of Memphis.
Khaemwaset spent most of the rest of his life in the Memphite region. He is renowned as perhaps being the 'first Egyptologist', as he left large inscriptions telling of his visits to clear and renew parts of the pyramids of Giza and Saqqara. He was also responsible for work on the burial places of the Apis bulls at Saqqara, and may even have been buried near there himself. In later times Khaemwaset was recalled as a magician.
This statue was probably intended to be set up in the temple at Abydos. It shows Khaemwaset displaying his piety before Osiris by holding one of the god's symbols, the emblem of the nome (province) of Abydos.
The execution of the statue in a sandstone with a vein of pebbly conglomerate shows the skill with which sculptors could work even the most difficult material, producing a spectacularly coloured statue.
T.G.H. James and W.V. Davies, Egyptian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)
C. Chadefaud, Les statues porte-enseignes de (Paris, 1982)
G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
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)