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Kneeling Statue of Senenmut

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Occasionally an innovative artist enhanced a traditional sculptural form. This statue of Senenmut—an important official during the joint reign of Queen Hatshepsut and King Thutmose III—appears in the classic kneeling pose known since the Fourth Dynasty (circa 2625–2500 B.C.E.). Old and Middle Kingdom kneeling statues show a subject with his hands resting on his thighs or holding a pair of tiny round vessels. The sculptor of this piece, however, depicted Senenmut presenting a complex object: a cobra resting in a pair of upraised arms, wearing cow horns with a sun-disk. Egyptologists interpret this image as a cryptogram of Hatshepsut’s throne name (Ma`at-ka-re).

The sculptural form of a kneeling man holding an intricate symbolic image first appeared in statues of Senenmut and continued for hundreds of years. Perhaps this new type of statue was the product of Senenmut’s imagination, as interpreted by a skilled and receptive artist.
MEDIUM Granite
  • Place Found: Armant, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1478-1458 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 18 9/16 x 6 7/8 x 9 7/16 in. (47.2 x 17.4 x 23.9 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 67.68
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Kneeling Statue of Senenmut, ca. 1478-1458 B.C.E. Granite, 18 9/16 x 6 7/8 x 9 7/16 in. (47.2 x 17.4 x 23.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 67.68. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.68_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 67.68_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Kneeling statue in dark grey granite representing Senenmut proferring symbol composed of the "ka" hieroglyph surmounted by a cobra with cow horns and sun disk, the whole forming a rebus of the name Makara, that of Hatshepsut. Senenmut wears a wide striated wig covering his shoulders, a short beard, and a kilt from the waist to just above the ankles. One line of text round base, one line on top of base left side, front, right side; three columns of text on back-pillar which ends on triangular top inclined toward back of Senemut's head. One column on left side of back pillar and one column on right side; cartouche of Makara on right upper arm. Condition: Figure perfect, but inscription shows erasures and slight damage in several places. Base chipped.
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