The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu

Period: Old Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 4

Date: ca. 2575–2465 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt; Probably from Memphite Region, Giza, Western Cemetery

Medium: Limestone, paint

Dimensions: h. 62 cm (24.7/16 in); w. 24.5 cm (9 5/8 in); d. 15.2 cm (6 in)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1948

Accession Number: 48.111


This statue evokes the intimacy of Memi and his companion, Sabu, although she is set somewhat apart by her oblique gaze.

Until recently, the flowering of nonroyal statuary was believed to have occurred only in the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties. Recent studies indicate, however, that many of these nonroyal statues, including Memi and Sabu, are better dated to the Fourth Dynasty, contemporary with the great royal statuary programs. The early date for Memi and Sabu is based both on her coiffure and on the reciprocated embrace.