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Fragmentary Statue of a Figure with Kyphosis

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Despite the lack of true portraiture and the apparent tendency toward a strict “ideal” in Egyptian art, the realistic depiction of this figure with kyphosis, or a severe curvature of the spine, attests to the artist’s attention to detail. The damaged figurine was originally covered with gesso and painted, further enhancing its lifelike appearance.

The attitude towards disability and atypical bodies in Egyptian society is evident in the Ramesside wisdom text of Amenemope (1292–1075 b.c.e.), which instructs the reader: “Do not laugh at a blind man, ridicule a dwarf, or impede the disabled!”
MEDIUM Wood, plaster
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 1539–1075 B.C.E.
    PERIOD New Kingdom (possibly)
    DIMENSIONS 2 9/16 x 1 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (6.5 x 3.1 x 6.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden figure of a hunchback, shown seated, L. hand resting on L. leg, stretched out before him. Face, with a short wig, is cocked on one side. The R. side is missing, and figure much abraded. Remains of gesso (?).
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Fragmentary Statue of a Figure with Kyphosis, 1539–1075 B.C.E. Wood, plaster, 2 9/16 x 1 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (6.5 x 3.1 x 6.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1595E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1595E_view1_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1595E_view1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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