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Limestone Block Statue of Hetep

Artefact Details

Gallery number: 22 – Ground Floor

Period: Middle Kingdom

Dynasty: 12th Dynasty (ca. 1985–1773 BC)

Place of discovery: Saqqara, Excavated by C. Firth for the EAS (Egyptian Antiquities Service) in 1921

Size: Height: 110cm, width: 63 cm, Depth: 96 cm

Material: Limestone

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The genre known as block statues originated during the Middle Kingdom and became increasingly popular in subsequent periods. This example is one of two commissioned by Hetep, each virtually identical but one was sculpted in limestone (this example) and the other in granite. The reason for the style is unclear: it may have been simply a way to produce a required image at minimal time and cost. Hetep is represented as sitting in a sedan chair, the type that was carried by means of poles attached for several men to lift and carry. Passengers would sit on a cushion and bend the legs, as the litters were not designed to stretch out the legs. The poles are eliminated here but the curved back is portrayed. Hetep’s arms are modeled in high relief, crossed over at the top of the block. His legs, also in high relief, emerge from the block at front and his feet rest on the bottom of the chair. He wears a flaring wig that shows his ears, and a false beard of formality. The ears are large and the eyes wide open and wide set, in keeping with the style of the time. His nose and mouth are damaged. The inscriptions that are carved vertically on the front sides of the chair and continue at the base give his name and titles and the offering prayer.