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Relief of Akhty-hotep

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
This sculpture in relief depicts Akhtyhotep, an Old Kingdom official, in a simple wrapped kilt and a short, curly wig. The tall walking stick and paddle-like baton indicate his official status. Akhty-hotep’s name appears in hieroglyphs in front of his face and also, partially preserved, above him to the left. It was believed that, in addition to tomb statues, images like this one could house the dead owner’s spirit. The high, bold carving typifies relief of the early Old Kingdom.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Excavated: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2650-2600 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 3 to early Dynasty 4
    PERIOD Early Old Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 36 1/8 x 23 11/16 in. (91.8 x 60.2 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 57.178
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone relief of the royal official Akhet-hotep. In high relief, Akhet-hotep, standing facing right, supporting plain staff in left hand, and sekhem-scepter in right. Curled wig, plain skirt. Above the representation, remains of three columns of titles in very bold hieroglyphs; name of owner in raised relief in front of face. Condition: Relief is assembled from separate blocks. These blocks have been cut to maximum thickness of about 4.2 cm. Sections lost from left edge (center and base) and from lower right edges. Cracked in various sections with minor breaks along cracks. Remains of green paint around eye. Lips chipped. Relief is in fragile condition and crossed with cracks. As both long sides of the relief show traces of walls at right angles to the main face of this relief, it must have come from the left side, or inlet, of a false door or similar in the tomb.
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