From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht South, Mastaba of Imhotep, chamber inside the south enclosure wall, MMA excavations, 1913–14
Cedar wood, plaster, paint
H. 57.6 cm (22 11/16 in.); W. 11 cm (4 5/16 in.); D. 26 cm (10 1/4 in.)
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1914
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
This figure wears the red crown of Lower Egypt and the face appears to reflect the features of the reigning king, most probably Amenemhat II or Senwosret II. However, the divine kilt suggests that the statuette was not merely a representation of the living ruler. Together with its counterpart wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt, now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, the figure was discovered standing behind a shrine that contained an object sacred to the god Anubis, the so-called Imiut (14.3.18 and .19), and the two figures could be understood to have functioned as guardians of the Imiut. The ensemble was discovered in 1914 in the area surrounding the pyramid of Senwosret I at Lisht South during the Museum's excavation of a mud-brick enclosure surrounding the mastaba of Imhotep, a Twelfth Dynasty official. A chamber had been built into the south part of the enclosure wall and in it the statuettes and shrine were hidden, doubtlessly after having played a part in a dramatic funerary ceremony.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1914.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.
Aldred, Cyril 1980. Egyptian Art in the Days of the Pharaohs, 3100-320 BC, World of Art, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 137, no. 101.
Arnold, Dorothea 2015. "Guardian Figure and Shrine with an Imiut in a Jar." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 230–32, no. 168.
Arnold, Dorothea 2015. "Statues in Their Settings: Encountering the Divine." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 18, fig. 23, n. 28.