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Tomb Relief of Itwesh

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Itwesh, more officially called Semenkhu-Ptah, was an important royal official, according to the inscription on this relief fragment from his tomb. The image represents not the living Itwesh but one of his tomb statues. In Egyptian reliefs, living people are generally depicted with both shoulders in a frontal view, while images of statues show just one shoulder in profile. The full chin, receding (slightly retouched) hairline, and walking stick indicate that the statue of Itwesh shown in this relief portrayed him as a stout man in prosperous middle age.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2475–2345 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY end of Dynasty 5
    PERIOD Old Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 17 x 5 1/2 x 30 in., 141.5 lb. (43.2 x 14 x 76.2 cm, 64.2kg)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Oblong fragment of limestone from a tomb decorated with a representation of a statue of the deceased (preserved are the head, shoulder, and hand. In the hand is held a staff): a man named Smnhw-Pth, also called 'Itws. Above and before the figure is an inscription. Within the borders and before the figure of Itwesh is also an inscription. The relief is bold, a forerunner of the bold relief of Dyn. VI. The hieroglyphs are quite detailed. Condition: Small chips, some darkening.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Tomb Relief of Itwesh, ca. 2475–2345 B.C.E. Limestone, 17 x 5 1/2 x 30 in., 141.5 lb. (43.2 x 14 x 76.2 cm, 64.2kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.25E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.25E_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.25E_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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