Torso of King Achoris

Egyptian
Late Period, Dynasty 29, reign of Achoris
393–381 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Perhaps Heliopolis

Dimensions

Overall: 111 cm, 315.7 kg (43 11/16 in., 696 lb.) Case (Object bolted to wooden pedestal): 107.6 x 59.7 x 59.7 cm (42 3/8 x 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

29.732

Medium or Technique

Granodiorite

On View

Egyptian Late Period Gallery (Gallery 216)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

This magnificent sculpture fragment, one of few inscribed for King Achoris, is a wonderful combination of old and new. Enough remains of the torso and legs to show that the king was represented in the traditional striding pose for men, left foot forward, arms at his sides. What is new is the fleshiness of the body and the treatment of the anatomy, by which chest, rib cage, and abdomen are rendered as three separate areas, a convention known as tripartition. Although the head is lost, it probably closely resembled the Head of Nectanebo II in the Blue Crown.

The statue came to the United States during the American Civil War (1861–65), along with four other Egyptian sculptures now in the Museum. They were acquired by a Yankee sea captain who touched at Alexandria on his way home from a voyage to the Mediterranean. No doubt they were collected more for their sheer weight (as ballast) than for their artistic merit. The ship was captured by the Confederates and brought to New Orleans, and the statues were deposited at the customs house there. After the war they were purchased by the Yankee postmaster, who took them to his home in Lowell, Massachusetts. There they stood on his front lawn for sixty years before being acquired by the Museum.

The back-pillar inscription that provides the king’s titles and names is incomplete: “Horus: Great of heart, beloved of the Two Lands; Two Ladies: the Brave: Golden Horus: Who pacifies the gods; King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Khnummaatra Setepenbanebdjedet, the son of Re …” What was likely to have been the lower portion of the statue, seen in 1842 in the courtyard of the Greek consul in Alexandria, is reported to have been inscribed on its back pillar with the remainder of the king’s titulary, picking up exactly where the Boston fragment leaves off: “the son of Re Achoris [beloved of] Atum lord of Iunu.” The present location of this fragment is unknown, so that it is impossible to verify the connection.

Provenance

Perhaps Heliopolis (el-Matariya), via Alexandria. With 29.728, 29.729, 29.731, 29.733: purchased at the Customs House in New Orleans during the Civil War (1861-65) by Mr. J. M. G. Parker of Lowell, Massachusetts ("Somebody got them in Egypt and was bringing them into this country, and the officials seized them. My grandfather was postmaster there at the time, and with the help of my cousin, the late Gen. B. F. Butler, bought them at a very low price. When the war was over he brought them to his home on Tenth Street, Lowell, and had them placed on the front lawn around the piazza, where they have been ever since," Edward A. Tuck to J. R. Coolidge, March 29, 1906); by descent to Parker Tuck; February 7, 1929: purchased by the MFA from Parker Tuck for $1500.*

(Accession date: February 7, 1929)

Price includes 29.728-29.733.

Credit Line

Maria Antoinette Evans Fund