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Seated Statuette of Sekhemka

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This diorite statue was possibly a reused royal statue, which was provided with a limestone base painted to imitate the more expensive diorite. It also combines the base with an offering table.

The statue was repaired in antiquity, a fact deduced from the round hole (visible in the break), which was made with an ancient drill. Since this type of stone and this seated pose were nearly always limited to royal statues in the Fifth Dynasty, it is likely that Sekhemka repaired a broken and discarded royal statue. The beautifully carved limestone base illustrates the offerings, such as bread, beer, cattle, and fowl, that Sekhemka hoped for in the afterlife.
MEDIUM Anorthosite gneiss, limestone, pigment
  • Possible Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2400–2345 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 5
    PERIOD Old Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 15 1/4 x 7 7/8 x 16 1/4 in., 56 lb. (38.7 x 20 x 41.3 cm, 25.4kg)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Seated statue of a man set into a limestone base. The upper surface of the base is decorated with low relief representations of offerings and sunk relief inscriptions that give his name as Sekhemka. The base, but not the offerings, is painted black, in imitation of hard stone. The man wears a kilt and is seated in the “Chephren” pose. The top half of the statue has been sheared away diagonally. The right hand side is preserved up to the level of the shoulder. His right hand rests on his right thigh, fist clenched and pointing up, a rudimentary emblematic wand protrudes. His left hand lies flat on his left thigh-fingers are long and thin. The legs are heavy and broadly modelled. The same broad modeling is evidenced for the rest of the figure. He wears a close fitting kilt ending just above the knees. The seat is a simple cube and while the body has received some polish--this has received less. The base into which the statue fits bears two registers of offerings in relief and polychrome. A line of hieroglyphs flanks the seat on either side. Condition: The statue itself has been much damaged. The left side including the head has, as has been stated, sheared off. A large drill hole exists in this area (visible from the side). The body bears numerous pitting and some evidence of polychrome. The base is painted black except from the polychromed offering registers. Some chips have been taken in these. A chip directly in front of the statue has carried away a small portion of the upper register. Much rubbing of the black paint layer has caused thinning in some spots.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Seated Statuette of Sekhemka, ca. 2400–2345 B.C.E. Anorthosite gneiss, limestone, pigment, 15 1/4 x 7 7/8 x 16 1/4 in., 56 lb. (38.7 x 20 x 41.3 cm, 25.4kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.23Ea-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.23E_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 37.23E_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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