Ten Foot Egyptian Arriving at the Metropolitan Museum

The ten-foot-tall ancient Egyptian sculpture making its way to New York. (Image courtesy Agyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

I admit to having a thing for monumental ancient Egyptian sculpture, it’s one of my things. So, when I heard that this ten-foot-tall, almost nine-ton, 4,000-year-old regal sculpture was going to be loaned for display at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum for the next ten years, I got excited.

The Middle Kingdom work, according to the New York mega museum, is a rarity in American institutions that aren’t particularly rich in “magnificent colossal statuary” — love that term.

Specialists suggest that the work depicts 12th Dynasty pharoah Amenemhat II but they aren’t certain.

I also adore the vivid description the Metropolitan Museum provided about the work that’s being loaned by Berlin’s Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin:

The sculpture depicts a seated king — wearing only a kilt around the hips and upper legs — on a simple cubic throne with a short vertical seatback. A kind of blanket spread over the top of the seat hangs down at the back. The ceremonial bull’s tail that all pharaohs wore — attached to their belts, as a sign of their strength — is seen between the king’s legs. On his head is the royal head cloth called nemes; and over the forehead is the royal cobra, symbolizing the ruler’s awesome power. The pharaoh also wears a ceremonial (false) beard, and in his right hand he holds a piece of cloth, which is a status symbol (perhaps originally a cloth to wipe sweat from the forehead).


The Metropolitan Museum couldn’t give a firm date as to when the bulky Egyptian will go on display but they did say “later this month.”

UPDATE: The Metropolitan Museum tells us the statue is currently on view in the Great Hall but no word on the official “unveiling.”

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