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Block Statue of Senenmut with Neferure

Author(s): C. Zarnoch, E. Sullivan

Description: This cuboid statue represents a man seated with his arms encircling his drawn up knees. His cloth garment is stretched tight against the lines of his arms and legs. He is balanced on a thick base, now partly broken. The head of a child, whose body is hidden within the taught folds of his clothing, emerges from his embrace. The flat panel formed by the fabric between his legs is covered with finely incised hieroglyphs.

The text reveals the identity of the man, Senenmut, who served as the highest official in Egypt during the reign of queen Hatshepsut. The child on his lap is the princess Neferure, shown with a sidelock hairstyle (characteristic of children in ancient Egypt) and a uraeus on her forehead (marking her royal status). This is one of eight statues of Senenmut that pair him with the princess Neferure, daughter of Hatshepsut. Despite the fact that he must have been at least middle-aged, Senenmut is depicted here as a youthful man, with a smooth, idealized face.

Provenance: found during excavations of the “cachette” in the court of the 7th pylon
Person: Senenmut and princess Neferure, from the reign of Hatshepsut
Date: Dynasty 18, New Kingdom (1473-1458 BCE)
Material: Grey granite
Functional Comments: By the New Kingdom, most cuboid statues (also called "block statues") were set up in temples. They were inscribed with texts that offered prayers for the person depicted, providing their owner with a permanent presence within the temple’s sacred halls, courts, or chapels.
Dimensions: H: 130cm
Current Location: Cairo Museum

Bibliography:
Legrain, G. (1906). Statues et statuettes de rois et de particuliers. Le Caire, Impr. de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale. pp. 62-64.

Porter, B., R. L. B. Moss, et al. (1972). Topographical bibliography of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs and paintings 2., Theban temples. Oxford, Clarendon Press. pp. 134.

Tiradritti, F. and A. d. Luca (1999). Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. New York, H. N. Abrams. pp. 141.

Russmann, E. (2001). Eternal Egypt: masterworks of ancient art from the British Museum. Los Angeles, University of California Press. pp. 120-125.(for a second image of Senenmut with Neferure and a more general discussion of cuboid statues)

Van der Plas, D. (2006). "The Global Egyptian Museum, Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage." http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org

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