Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Statuette of Imhotep

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Memphis (Mit Rahina), Egyptian Antiquities Service, found July 1909
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 16.2 cm (6 3/8 in.); W. 6.6 cm (2 5/8 in.); D. 7.3 cm (2 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number:
10.175.132
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Imhotep was adviser to King Djoser in the third dynasty and he is credited with the design of the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, the earliest pyramid in Egypt. For this and other achievements of wisdom and learning attributed to him, in later periods he became one of the only historical non-royal people to be divinized and to have a dedicated cult, which was particularly strong in the Memphite region. In copper alloy statuettes like this one, he is shown sitting, wearing his close-fitting cap and holding a scroll on his lap. An inscription on the scroll names him as Imhotep. In a symbolic sense, the scroll also serves to emphasize his wisdom and erudition, his role as a patron of scribes, and hints at the many intellectual forays into medicine, architecture, and engineering that were later ascribed to him. His attire varies, but in this instance he wears a broad collar that is articulated on the front and back of his chest and a short kilt.
Found in July 1909 in a cache at Mit Rahineh, purchased from the Egyptian Government in 1910.

Related Objects

Relief from the Palace of Apries in Memphis

Date: 589–570 B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 09.183.1a1–23 On view in:Gallery 123

Statuette of the Goddess Taweret

Date: 332–30 B.C. Medium: Glassy faience Accession: 26.7.1193 On view in:Gallery 134

Osiris inscribed for Harkhebit, son of Padikhonsu and Isetempermes

Date: 600–300 BC Medium: Bronze, silver Accession: 10.175.133 On view in:Gallery 134

Nefertum

Date: 332–30 B.C. Medium: cupreous metal, black bronze and precious metal inlay, glass Accession: 10.175.131 On view in:Gallery 134

Statue of a goddess, probably Nehemetaui or Nebethetepet

Date: 550–300 B.C. Medium: cupreous metal Accession: 26.7.845 On view in:Gallery 134