Statuette of a Royal (?) Woman with the Cartouches of Necho II on her Arms

Late Period, Saite
Dynasty 26
reign of Necho II
610–595 B.C.
From Egypt
H. 23.8 cm (9 3/8 in.); W. 5.6 cm (2 3/16 in); D. 4.3 cm (2 1/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Although this figure is nude, her hair is finely coiffed and she wears a rich ensemble of jewelry, a set of features that generally recalls fertility figurines known from other periods; these works belonged either to men or women and could be found in homes or graves.There is scattered evidence suggesting such figures also existed in the Late Period. On her shoulders, in raised relief, are cartouches with the two most important names of King Necho II. These names along with the generous expenditure of silver, a rare and costly material, to cast this solid figure, would seem to indicate that it belonged either to the king or, possibly, that it was a gift from him to someone important. While two holes in the wig (in the front and center) could accommodate a uraeus,this attribute of deities and royalty would be wholly unexpected and difficult to explain on an unclothed woman.
    Essentially monochromatic and static in pose, the figure depends on both silhouette and surface for its lively effect. It was cast together with its small rectangular base, yet it is unable to stand upright on its own, and there are no traces of tangs or solder that would indicate the existence of a more stable support. The figure, therefore, could only have been intended to stand upright in a close-fitting box or to be laid down on its back.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Necho and WHm-ib-ra embossed on either arm

  • Provenance

    Purchased by Theodore M. Davis in Egypt from Mohammed Mohassib, Luxor, 1905. Formerly Theodore M. Davis Collection. Bequeathed to the Museum by Davis, 1915; accessioned, 1930.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History