- Museum number
Limestone block statue of the male official Sahathor on a slim rectangular base.
He wears a smooth shoulder-length wig set low on his brow and tucked behind his large ears. His eyes are rounded with a thin incised line at his upper eyelid, and his eyebrows are conveyed by a subtle ridge which slopes down at the temple. His nose is short and broad at the tip, and his mouth is wide with thick, pursed lips. His face is particularly rounded and fleshy at the jawline. He is shown squatting on the ground with his knees drawn up to the chest, and his clothing enveloping the entire body with the exception of his feet and hands. His arms are crossed over his knees, and his limbs are suggested through visible curves at the front of the block form indicating his arms, elbows, and the lower legs. His waist is also narrowed at either side of the body. Two columns of incised text are carved across the front of the block form, and around the edges of the statue base a continuous horizontal line of text is also inscribed.
Sahathor has suffered damage to his nose, mouth, left ear and chin, and there are small chips visible across the wig. The corners of the statue base are also damaged, and there are various further small chips to the stone across the front and both sides of the block form.
- Production date
- 1900BC (circa)
Height: 42.50 centimetres
Weight: 22.50 kilograms
Width: 20 centimetres
Depth: 26 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This statue belongs with a large limestone stela which functioned as a shrine and false door with a dedicated area for the statue to be placed (EA 569: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA569). The funerary inscription within the stela mirrors the text also found on the statue, with evocations of deities such as Osiris and Anubis.
Sahathor lived during the reign of Amenemhat II in the Twelfth Dynasty, and these monuments originated from Abydos (PM V). The funerary focus of both inscriptions has led to suggestions that the monument was likely intended for a tomb chapel setting (James and Davies 1983), possibly along the processional route towards Osiris’ principal cult centre (Simpson 1974; Russmann 2001), though their exact provenance remains unknown.
Arts Council, 1962. 5,000 years of Egyptian art: the Diploma Galleries Royal Academy of Art, London 22 June to 12 August (London), p. 16, no. 42.
B.V. Bothmer, 1959. ‘Block Statues of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom: Ipepy’s Funerary Monument’, Brooklyn Museum Bulletin Vol. 20, No. 4, p. 20, Fig. 10.
T. G. H. James & W. V. Davies, 1983. Egyptian Sculpture (London), p. 14, Fig. 12.
R. Parkinson, 1991. Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings (Norman), p. 137-139.
G. Robins, 2008. The Art of Ancient Egypt Revised Edition (Cambridge, Mass.), no. 114.
R. Schulz, 1992. Die Entwicklung und Bedeutung des kuboiden Statuentypus: Eine Untersuchung zu den sogenannten Würfelhockern (Hildesheim), p. 372-373, Pl. 96b.
W. K. Simpson, 1974. The Terrace of the Great God at Abydos: The Offering Chapels of Dynasties 12 and 13 (New Haven; Philadelphia), p. 17, 23, Pl. 18.
D. Wildung, 2000. Ägypten 2000 v. Chr. die Geburt des Individuums (Munich), p. 162, no. 81.
I. Regulski (ed.), 2022. Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt, pp. 170-1
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006-2007 6 Oct-18 Feb, Tokyo, National Museum of Nature and Science, Mummy: The Inside Story
2007 17 Mar-17 Jun, Kobe City Museum, Mummy: The Inside Story
2009 2 Mar-29 Jun, Paris, Louvre Museum, Les Portes du Ciel
2011 10 Feb - 10 June, Coventry, Herbert Museum, Secret Egypt
2011 10 June - 24th Oct Torquay Museum, Secret Egypt
2015-2016 5th Oct - 24th Jan. New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Middle Kingdom.
2022-2023 13 Oct-19 Feb, London, BM, Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt
2023 17 Mar-18 Jun, Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, NP Egyptian hieroglyphs
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BS.570 (Birch Slip Number)