This is the only preserved three-dimensional representation that has been identified as Sahure, the second ruler of Dynasty 5. Seated on a throne, the king is accompanied by a smaller male figure personifying the local god of the Coptite nome, the fifth nome (province) of Upper Egypt. This deity offers the king an ankh (hieroglyph meaning "life") with his left hand. The nome standard, with its double-falcon emblem, is carved above the god's head. Sahure wears the nemes headcloth and straight false beard of a living pharaoh. The flaring hood of the uraeus, the cobra goddess who protected Egyptian kings, is visible on his brow. The nome god wears the archaic wig and curling beard of a deity.
The statue may have been intended to decorate the king's pyramid complex at Abusir, about fifteen miles south of Giza. At the end of the previous dynasty, multiple statues of this type were placed in the temple of Menkaure (Mycerinus) to symbolize the gathering of nome gods from Upper and Lower Egypt around the king. However, since no other statues of this type are preserved from Sahure's reign, it is possible that this statue was a royal dedication in one of the temples in Coptos (modern Qift).
On the throne: Hr.w nb-xa.w nswt bj.tj sAH.w-raw Horus Nebkhau, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Sahure
Before the figure of deity, the few signs remain. Comparing them to inscriptions on similar statues, allow us to reconstruct the text as follows : D[d mdw] rDi.n(=i) n=k (j)x[.t] n[b(.t) nfr(.t) Htp.t nb.t DfA.w nb jm.jwt SmA.w xa.tj m nswt bj.tj D.t] W[ords spoken]: I have given you a[ll good thi]ngs, [all provisions, (and) all offerings from Upper Egypt, when you appear (in glory) as the King of Upper and Lower Egypt.]
Purchased in Luxor from Yusef Hassan, 1918.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 1920. "The Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 15, no. 6 (June), p. 128, fig. 1.
Scott, Nora E. 1945. Egyptian Statues. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 1.
Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 70-71, fig. 46.
Aldred, Cyril 1980. Egyptian Art in the Days of the Pharaohs, 3100-320 BC, World of Art, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 93.
Hibbard, Howard 1980. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harper & Row, 36, fig. 55.
Dorman, Peter F., Prudence Harper, and Holly Pittman 1987. Egypt and the Ancient Near East in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 16-17.