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Work Statue of Amenemhetankh

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: From the late prehistoric period to the late Middle Kingdom (circa 3800 - 1710 BC)

Statue of Amenemhetankh

© Musée du Louvre/C. Décamps

Egyptian Antiquities
From the late prehistoric period to the late Middle Kingdom (circa 3800 - 1710 BC)

Author(s):
Delange Elisabeth

Amenemhetankh is shown standing. As a sign of respect, he holds his hands turned flat against his upper legs. Executed with great attention to detail, the statue shows a discreetly well-developed musculature, and the young face has wide eyes and a downturned mouth. The inscriptions on either side of the back pillar and on the front of the skirt include the name of Amenemhet III, during whose reign this eminent official lived.

Measure and Sobriety of the Middle Kingdom

With the figure shown in the traditional manner, stepping forward, this statue of Amenemhetankh is an accomplished example of the art of the Middle Kingdom. The long loincloth is wound around the body, like a wrap-around skirt tied at the waist. The fabric is stiff, making sharp folds at the sides. Everything is well-finished - the forceful, yet unobtrusive musculature, and the smooth, symmetrical face. The youthful features include big eyes, with well-marked lids, and a downturned mouth. The wig beneath the headcloth is made up of regular tresses. There is nothing fanciful in this statue with its perfectly balanced proportions: all is measured.

A High Officer of the Realm

This is a portrait of a person of eminence, close to the king. The inscriptions in vertical columns on the front of the loincloth and on either side of the back pillar identify Amenemhetankh as "Chief of the priests, esteemed of the King, secretary of the Grande Place," and "Also secretary of the temple of Ptah-Sokar." He was both priest and administrator, as was always the case in the pharaonic period. He occupied his posts during the reign of Amenemhet III, mentioned three times in the inscription. We also know that he was very close to the king, because was granted the great honor of bearing the name of Amenemhet, and that he lived at the new royal residence of Crocodilopolis in Faiyum. This statue, sculpted in a noble stone, would have been placed in the temple of the royal residence, as a highly particular mark of royal favor.

A Devout Gesture

There is a language of gesture. The arms pressed against the loincloth, and not separated from it in the carving, do of course ensure the solidity of a statue intended to last. Yet it was not until the Middle Kingdom that this attitude made its appearance. The arms disposed symmetrically, with the hands stretched out flat, are an expression of submission and prayer. This is the attitude of a devout man towards his king and his god.

Bibliography

E. Delange, Les Statues égyptiennes du Moyen Empire, Paris, 1987, p. 69.
Catalogue de l'exposition Ägypten 200 v. Chr., Berlin, 2000, notice n 45, p. 113, 117, 182.
Catalogue de l'exposition Il Seuro dell'Arte nell'Antico Egitto, Bologne, 1990, p. 71, notice n 22

Technical description

  • Statue of Amenemhetankh

    Middle Kingdom, Twelfth Dynasty, reign of Amenemhet III (1843-1798 BC)

    Faiyum

  • Sculpture in the round; silicified sandstone (quartzite)

    H. 72 cm (with restoration of base); W. 18 cm; D. 30.30 cm

  • Purchased 1904

    E 11053

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    1st floor
    The Middle Kingdom, c. 2033–1710 BC
    Room 23

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