Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Relief Fragment with Parts of Heads of Prisoners

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 11
reign of Mentuhotep II, later
ca. 2030–2000 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Temple of Mentuhotep II probably
Limestone, paint
H. 4 3/4 in.
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2003
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 104
The mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri combined innovative building ideas with a relief decoration that was largely based on prototypes from the Old Kingdom pyramid temples in the Memphite area. Utterly destroyed by stone robbers in antiquity, the decoration is only preserved in thousands of fragments. This fragment comes from a scene in which the king was shown raising a mace in his right hand to smite a group of enemies whom he holds by the hair in his left hand. The faces of two dark skinned enemies (Nubians?) alternate with two of yellowish orange skin color (Libyans or Asians?).
Acquired from Peter Sharrer, New Jersey, 2003. Previously collection of Herbert A. Cahn, Basel since the 1960s.

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