Standing cedar statuette of a man

From the tomb of Gua, Deir el-Bersha, Egypt
12th Dynasty, 1985-1795 BC

This wooden statuette is believed to come from the tomb of Gua, a physician. The British Museum has other material from Gua's tomb, including his inner and outer coffins, and an ivory headrest. These all bear their owner's names and titles, but if this statue had a painted inscription it has disappeared.

It was common to include statues of the deceased in a tomb during the late Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC) and Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC)

The pose of this statue, standing with one leg forward, is typical. The figure wears a long kilt with a tied detail at the waistband, a fashion which was current at the time that the man was buried. The arms have been carved separately and attached using a mortice and tenon joint. The fingers are characteristically flexed, perhaps to hold a symbol of office, or just to stop the fingers of the statue being damaged.

The carving is not of a particularly high standard. Although there is some modelling of the chest and particularly the nipples, the limbs lack definition, and the front of the kilt is completely featureless. The figure is poorly proportioned, with a short neck and relatively short, stocky legs. This is quite unlike the idealized lithe figure seen in other examples, such as the statue of Meryrahashtef, also in the British Museum.

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More information


W. Seipel, Gott-Mensch-Pharao (Vienna, Kunsthistoriches Museum, 1992)

J.H. Taylor, Death and Afterlife in ancient (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)

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


Height: 34.500 cm

Museum number

EA 30715


Acquired in 1899


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