Kneeling statue of Bay, New Kingdom, early Dynasty 19, reign of Seti I or later (ca. 1294–1250 b.c.)
Limestone; H. 11 1/2 in. (28.2 cm)
Purchase, Fletcher Fund and The Guide Foundation Inc. Gift, 1966 (66.99.94)
Gift of Dr. R. J. Demarée, 2009 (2009.253)
While visiting the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan in 2008, Professor Robert J. Demarée of Leiden University noticed the upper half of a statuette in one of the study galleries. During lunch, he informed us that he owned the bottom half of this statuette, which he had purchased in Cairo in the 1960s, when the sale and export of antiquities was still allowed. Upon returning to the Netherlands, Professor Demarée confirmed that the two fragments were indeed parts of the same statuette, and he generously donated the lower half to the Museum. The top half of the statuette came to the Museum in 1966 as part of the collection of Albert Gallatin.
The completed statuette depicts a kneeling man holding a stela inscribed with a hymn to the sun. The inscription on the bottom half identifies the owner as Bay, who was a scribe attached to the temple of Seti I, a post he probably held into the reign of Seti's son, Ramesses II. This dates the statuette to the first part of Dynasty 19 in the Ramesside period. Complete statues of nonroyal individuals from this period are uncommon, and pieces of this fine quality are extremely rare.