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Princess Sobeknakht Suckling a Prince

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

Beginning in the Middle Kingdom, craftsmen demonstrated great skill in designing and manufacturing metal statuary. This copper statuette, representing a woman suckling a male child, is considered among the finest of these sculptures. The inscription on the base identifies the subject as the "hereditary noblewoman" Sobeknakht; her fillet and uraeus-cobra show that she is a princess. The figure may have been commissioned to celebrate the birth of a prince, to signal a reigning king's devotion to his mother, or to reflect Sobeknakht's wish for divine help in conceiving a child who would become Egypt's king.

MEDIUM Copper alloy
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1700–after 1630 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 13
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 x 2 3/4 x 3 1/4 in. (10.2 x 7 x 8.3 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; by 1911, acquired by Octave Borelli Bey of Egypt and France; between 1911 and 1927, provenance not yet documented; by 1927, acquired by Alphonse Kann of Paris, France; January 6, 1927, purchased at American Art Galleries, “The Alphonse Kann collection”, lot 54 by the Brummer Gallery, New York, NY; August 18, 1943, purchased from the Brummer Gallery (N1153) by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Copper figurine of seated woman suckling child. The woman clad in a short garment sits on the ground with the left knee raised and the right leg folded under her with foot protruding from in back of the left ankle. She holds a nude child to the right breast. The base consists of a thin, bronze placque, on the front of which is scratched an inscription, which seems to read: AbC. T’t s’bk-nht m 3 ‘t-h2w “the Princess Sebek-nakht, the justified.” Condition: Tip of nose slightly rubbed.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Princess Sobeknakht Suckling a Prince, ca. 1700–after 1630 B.C.E. Copper alloy, 4 x 2 3/4 x 3 1/4 in. (10.2 x 7 x 8.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 43.137. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 43.137_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 43.137_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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