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Work Statue of Pendua and his father Dydy

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Dydy et son fils Pendoua, maîtres charpentiers

© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Christian Décamps

Egyptian Antiquities
The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Barbotin Christophe

The figures of two men, roughly hewn from local limestone, are represented holding a slab-shaped stele. The master carpenter Pendua and his father Dydy are chanting a little hymn to the rising sun, engraved under the image of the solar boat. Their hymn begins with a subtle play on words - and is full of grammatical mistakes.

A very unsophisticated sculpture

Two figures are kneeling behind a slab-shaped stele, holding the top of it. This is a particularly unrefined sculpture, carved from gaudily colored local limestone: the faces have large, staring eyes, and the bodies seem to have been hacked out of the stone; the style is typical of craftsmanship from Deir el-Medina during the Ramesside Period. Here we have Pendua, "master carpenter" at Deir el-Medina, with his father Dydy, who held the same title. Monuments representing a father and son on the same scale are rather unusual, but we know of at least one other such example from the same site.

A hymn to the rising sun, and a play on words

The decoration of this slab consists of two parts. At the top, the solar boat is represented with the sun in the central disk; below, five lines of hieroglyphs express the two characters' thoughts: (1) Adoration {of Ra} when he rises on the eastern horizon (2) of heaven, by the master carpenter Pendua, (3) acquitted, and {his} father, the master carpenter Dydy, (4) acquitted. He {they} declare{s}: "Hail to you who rise from Nun, (5) who illuminate the Two Lands when {you} climb {in the sky}! The nine deities acclaim you (6) together with the whole of mankind, your mother Nut {pays homage to you"}. So this is an Adoration ("dua" in Egyptian) declaimed by Pendua ("of the adored one"). The play on words between the name of the author of the Adoration and the title of the text is a typically Egyptian device which enabled a person to appropriate a prayer (and reap the expected benefits, of course).

A text full of mistakes

The bracketed words in the translation correspond to the corrections that have to be made to render the text readable. During the late New Kingdom, the classical language that was used in religious or official literature (Middle Egyptian) no longer corresponded to spoken language (Neo-Egyptian); the two were about as different as modern and medieval English - and this is why the majority of hieroglyphic texts from the Ramesside Period contain so many grammar and spelling mistakes.

Technical description

  • Dydy et son fils Pendoua, maîtres charpentiers

    vers 1300 - 1250 avant J.-C. (début 19e dynastie)

    village de Deir el-Médineh

  • calcaire

    H. : 31,50 cm. ; Pr. : 17 cm. ; L. : 19,80 cm.

  • Dydy and his son Pendua, master carpenters

    A 63

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    Ground floor
    The Book of the Dead
    Room 319
    Vitrine 8 : Hymnes au soleil

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