Sculptural combines are small-scale pieces created to be placed next to artifacts in the Museum’s Egyptian collection. Each sculpture presents a formal interpretation of the corresponding artifact’s conceptual content, according to one of seven types of relationships, or “resemblances.”
The artist made this sculptural combine in sympathy for the ancient King Rhampsinitus, who, according to myth, repeatedly lost treasures to a cunning thief. The king sent his daughter to the village to prostitute herself to any man who had information on the criminal. Hearing this, the thief purchased a pair of false arms, which he draped over his own before confessing his misdeeds to the princess. She bound his false arms and dragged him to the king, but the thief escaped. Admitting the intelligence of the trick, Rhampsinitus proclaimed his adversary to be the smartest man in Egypt. The thief then presented himself and was awarded the princess’s hand in marriage.