Elegantly compact, this block statue depicts the priest Pameniuwedja seated with his feet together, his bent legs drawn up to his chest, and his arms folded on top of his knees. These elements are fused into a solid trapezoidal mass, with only the hands carved in low relief on the top. These are joined by common cuff, the left open and flat and the right clutching a lettuce, symbol of rebirth. The head emerges from the body, with the face fully carved but the bag wig barely detached from the back pillar.
There are four framed vertical columns facing right on front panel; on the tops of the feet are portions of the Saite offering formula; another offering formula beginning at the proper left front runs continuously around the shallow base. The back pillar is insribed with genealogical data set out in two vertical columns facing right. (See Translations below.)
For more on this statue, see the Curatorial Interpretation below.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Inscription Fig. 1: Facsimile of the inscriptions on the statue (John McDonald)
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Title:Block Statue of the God's Father Pameniuwedja, son of Nesmin and Nestefnut
Period:Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:4th century B.C.
Dimensions:H. 34.6 cm (13 5/8 in.); W. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.); D. 19.1 cm (7 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1907
The statue of Pameniuwedja possesses the compact and slightly stretched proportions that are typical of block statues in the Post-Persian and Ptolemaic eras. The subordination of naturalistic or credible proportions to form departs from the classic proportions of the block statue and follows directly from the revival of Saite art forms in early Dynasty 30 (380–362 BCE).
The disproportion is most readily viewed from the side. It is very noticeable in the flattening of the facial plane and the cutting of the back pillar and wig so they are nearly planar. Their flat and unmodulated surfaces help contribute to the overall impression of the sitter being ill at ease. A large contributory factor is that the sitter is wedged uncomfortably into the slightly acute angle formed by the base and back pillar. The ultimate effect is far different from the relaxed address of block statues of Dynasty 25, in which the knees tend to be slightly splayed, the shoulders broad, and the back slightly rounded.
Yet having said this, the face of Pameniuwedja is rendered in a pleasing and skillful manner. His eyes are carefully modeled, both upper and lower lids evident. The brow ridges are given plastic definition. The heightened and almost dome-like crown of Pameniuwedja's head and his severely flattened profile are diagnostic of block statues from the later Dynastic and early Ptolemaic periods.
The figure of Pameniuwedja shares a great deal with works acknowledged to date to Dynasty 30. The treatment of the wig is particularly relevant. It has nearly parallel sides, approximating what is sometimes referred to as the "straight" wig. Unlike the "wide" wig with its sloping sides, the straight wig is apt to be a feature of block statues from the post Persian and Ptolemaic periods. The treatment of the brow band of the wig—sharp and somewhat deep—is also typical. There is no suggestion any longer of the mass of hair collecting on the shoulders, rather the wig begins to acquire the look of a helmet or protective headgear.
Bothmer' s speculations on the reappearance of the block statue in the fourth century BCE are very interesting. They appear in great numbers in the Theban area and are often executed in hard stone such as diorite. But the persons represented are less apt to be high-level dignitaries, a circumstance he interprets as evidence that the form was no longer thought appropriate for high status individuals. Additionally, just as choice of material can follow fashion, so also can size. The statues of this era tend to be diminutive. Compare, for example, the host of block statues unearthed by Legrain in the Karnak Cachette. Most are in the range of 60 cm. in height, over twice the height of Pameniuwedja.
Pameniuwedja's hands are treated as issuing from a common cuff, with the right clutching what is generally identified as a lettuce. This is a common symbol of rebirth and has a long developmental history extending back to some of the earliest representations of the god Min, whose worship first embraced this vegetable as a regenerative motif.
As for the inscription, it is scratched into a hard, crystalline stone. Small, round signs appear to have been drilled or punctured. See Inscriptions below for translations.
John McDonald, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, 2001-2002
 Bothmer's view in ESLP, p. 95.
 Bothmer goes on to observe (in ESLP, p. 95), that the resultant work "no longer makes a convincingly relaxed impression." However subjective the comment, it certainly seems to apply in the case of MMA 07.228.25.
 Three especially apt examples are: Pierpont Morgan Library, AZ152 (formerly Inv. 10), treated in ESLP, p. 95, no. 76; Cairo JE 37178 (PM II, p. 157, and Cairo JE 36985 (PM II, p. 155).
 See ESLP, p. 131, comment.
 ESLP, p. 112.
 ESLP, 95.
 See Bothmer typology, Appendix I.
 Lactuca Sativa; abw, WB I, 176, 11.
 A connection first sketched out fully by Keimer in ZAS (1924), p. 143. See Germer, LA III (1980), pp. 938–939 and Germer in SAK (1980), pp. 85–87 for recent discussions. She considers it unlikely that the Egyptians attributed any aphrodisiacal properties to the plant. Rather the lettuce is one of the very few plants known to the ancient Egyptians with whitish sap (SAK (1980), p. 97) resembling seminal fluid; this alone could explain its association with Min / Min-Amun.
 The inscription on Cairo JE 37178, cited above in note 4, is also done in a punctured/ drilled manner.
For facsimiles of the inscriptions, see Inscription Figure 1 above.
Front: A royal offering of Mut the great one, Lady[a] of lsheru[b], mistress of the Gods, Khonsu in Thebes, Neferhotep and Horus, lord of happiness, giving an invocation offering of bread, beer, meat and fowl, incense, libation and everything fine, clean, sweet and pleasant on which a god lives, to the ka of the divine father, Pameniuwedja[c], justified, son of the divine father Nesmin, justified.
Back pillar: The divine father and priest, wn priest[d] and embracer of the sacred eye[e], Pameniuwedja, justified, son of the like-titled[f], Nesmin, justified, born of the house mistress Nestefnut, justified, alive and protected forever.
Footcase: His feet shall not be impeded nor his wish thwarted. He is a Heliopolitan[i].
Base: A royal offering of Amun-Re, lord of the thrones of the two lands, foremost in Karnak (and) Amunet-Re[h] who resides in Luxor, giving all that comes forth from upon their offering tables to the ka of the divine father, the priest, wn priest and embracer of the sacred eye, Pameniuwedja, justified[j], son of the like-titled Nesmin, justified, born of Nestefnut, justified.
Notes to translation:
a. Feminine terminations are generally not supplied.
b. The reading of lsheru is less than certain, but nbt jSrw is Mut's most common epithet. The S (Gardiner N37) is more square than oblong and the r (Gardiner D21) more round than oblate.
c. Since its acquisition, this piece has been ascribed to a PA-sr-wDA. But the sign read as sr is not identical to Gardiner sign list A2l. Rather the man is stooping slightly forward and holding a short stick with one hand and is more likely to be identified with Gardiner sign list A24 (Hwj or nxt) or A 25 (Hwj), or A33 (mnjw). This produces a number of likely names for the statue owner: PA-wr-wDA, PA-nxt-wDA, or PA-mnjw-wDA. Although Ranke does not document this particular name, names of similar construction, i.e., PA-mnjw + Old Perfective, appear already by the New Kingdom (e.g., PA-mnjw-??(w) in PN I, 117, 17), and all are attested in the Late Period. The name has been so read by Dr. James Allen on basis of a Ptolemaic papyrus of Year 7 of Philometer (174 BCE) formerly in Boston, MFA 38.2063B, from Deir el Ballas. Cited in Lüddeckens, Demotisches Namenbuch I (2000), p. 148.
d. The wn priest is frequently encountered on Theban monuments from Dynasty 22 onward, generally in association with Amun of Karnak or Montu. Whether a functioning title or hereditary benefice is unresolvable. See Yoyotte BIFAO (1954), p. 102.
e. This monogrammatic title was formerly read as sxn wDAt (e.g., Wb. I, p. 401, 18; Wb. III, p. 471, 11), but is now read Hpt wdAt based on the full writing contained on Cairo statue JE 38039. Both Ranke in MDAIK (1943), p. 118, note 5 and Leclant (1954), pp. 24–25 connect this title and the cult of Mut at Karnak. Leclant goes on to compile instances of the title, which may be supplemented with those cited in PM VIII (1999): pp. 770, 777, 794, 827, 827, 875, 958, and 1126. Hannig at 232, offers another insight by providing —without citation—a phrase "you are the one who encompasses ("Umfanger") the Oudjat eye of Mut, mistress of heaven, on the first day of her procession within Isheru," suggesting that title holders were expected to participate in a procession celebrating Mut at Karnak.
f. For the expression mi nn, see Bierbrier The Late New Kingdom in Egypt (c. 1300- 664 B.C.) (1975], xiv-xv. That Pameniuwedja's title (god's father) is identical with his father's (documented on the statue's front panel) is a superb demonstration of this phrase being the equivalent of ditto marks.
g. The phrase occurs in the Pyramid Texts (Sethe, Die Altaegyptischen Pyramidentexte (1908), 169, spell 258, 311 d) where it likely consists of parallel n sDm(w) passives. As the phrase is picked up in the Late Period and regularly employed to finish off the Saite offering formula, full writings would seem to confirm the original passive construction, now achieved by using the tw-form as in Louvre A90 (212): n DA.tw rdwy.fy n xsf.tw wy.fy (Wb. Beleg. V (1951), p. 515, 4). But there is some ambiguity in the range of writings. In this particular instance the t written before the determinative forecloses a passive writing, unless in error. See a recent analysis in De Meulenaere JEOL (1997), pp. 84–85, where the author interprets both verbs as infinitives, producing something along the lines of "without impeding his feet or thwarting his wishes."
h. What is intriguing here is the extraction of a single phrase from that text and repositioning it on the feet. Since the text mentions the feet/legs, placing it here has a certain logic, but in doing so, the conceptual and linguistic connection between the back pillar (jwn), which generally is the preferred location for the Saite offering formula, is ruptured and so is the idea of the back pillar's protective function. It is unlikely the Egyptians would have failed to make a connection between the back pillar (jwn) and a reference to the protective genie symbolized by it (jwny). The back pillar supports the statue and the protective deity watches out for Pameniuwedja in the hereafter. The similarity of consonantal structure of these two words, if not to say their actual sound, would have resonated with the Egyptians.
i. Amunet, the female counterpart of Amun, occurs seldom. For what it is worth, Schulz (Kuboiden Statuentypus, pp. 666, 668) has taken note of all gods' names on block figures through the mid-Ramesside period. Amunet occurs on slightly more than ½ of 1 percent of such figures under the Thutmosides and in the early and mid-Ramesside age. See two Late Period occurrences in PM VIII, 801-727-065 (p. 766) and 801-765-765 (p. 898).
j. Here written using the feather of Maat (Gardiner H6) instead of the dais (Gardiner Aa11).
John McDonald, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, 2001-2002
Purchased by the Museum from Mohammed Mohassib, Luxor, 1907.
Lythgoe, Albert M. 1907. "Recent Egyptian Acquisitions." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 12 (December), p. 195.
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