Bronze statuette of Thutmose IV

From Egypt
18th Dynasty, around 1350 BC

The King kneeling and making offerings

The posture of the king kneeling and holding two pots in offering to a deity first appears in the reign of Hatshepsut (about 1450 BC). It then becomes a common pose during the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), and there are several such statues in the British Museum. In this example, the king's name, Thutmose IV, is written on his belt, although not in a cartouche. He wears the nemes head-dress and a conventional short royal kilt.

Very few metal statues survive that date from before the Late Period (661-332 BC), though the Egyptians did have the technology to make large copper statues as early as the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC), if not before. Perhaps the scarcity of metals meant that such statues were usually melted down and the material re-used. Egypt's increased wealth during the New Kingdom may be a reason why more examples survive from then than from earlier periods.

The eyelids and the cosmetic eyeline extending from the outside corner of the statuette's eyes are inlays of an alloy known in Ancient Egyptian as hesmen kem. This was intended to react with the air into a black colour and it imitates the effect of eye paint. The eyeball and its brown iris are a glass inlay.

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More information

Bibliography

La Niece, Shearman, Taylor and Simpson, 'Polychromy and Egyptian bronze: new evidence for artificial coloration', Studies in Conservation-1, 47 (2003), 95-108, fig. 1

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

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 14.700 cm

Museum number

EA 64564

YCA25526

Acquired in 1946 from the Ackworth Collection

Location

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