Osiride Statue of King Mentuhotep III, re-inscribed for King Merenptah

Egyptian
Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11, reign of Sankhkara Mentuhotep III
2010–1998 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Armant, Temple of Montu

Dimensions

Overall: 213 x 36.8 x 146.1 cm (83 7/8 x 14 1/2 x 57 1/2 in.) Weight: 254.92 kg (562 lb.)

Accession Number

38.1395

Medium or Technique

Sandstone

On View

Egypt: Sculpture and Tomb Chapels (Gallery 209)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The pose of this life-sized statue of Mentuhotep III, with the arms folded across the chest, identifies the king with Osiris. His body is enveloped in a tightly fitting garment, reminiscent of a mummy’s wrappings, from which only his hands protrude. A knee-length robe is barely visible beneath it. Holes through the hands indicate that he once held the crook and flail scepters that served, like the tall white crown of Upper Egypt, as attributes both of the reigning king and of the god of the afterlife. Traces of the long, curved beard of the gods may also be detected on his chest above his crossed arms.

The statue originally stood in the temple of the warrior god Montu at Armant in southern Egypt. It was one of six such figures that had been ceremonially buried beneath the floor when the temple was rebuilt in the Greco-Roman period. Although no longer needed in the new building, nearly two millennia later they were evidently still considered too sacred to destroy. The inscription running down the center is misleading because it identifies the king as the Nineteenth Dynasty pharaoh Merenptah. The text, however, was inscribed centuries after the statue was erected, perhaps at a time when Merenptah undertook renovations of the temple. Most of the other figures of Mentuhotep found with it are uninscribed

Provenance

From Armant, temple of Montu. 1937: excavated by the Sir Robert Mond Expedition of the Egypt Exploration Society; 1938: given to the MFA in recognition of a contribution of $3,796 to the Robert Mond Expedition of the Egypt Exploration Society.
(Accession Date: September 8, 1938)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Society in recognition of a contribution to the Robert Mond Expedition from the Harriet Otis Cruft Fund