Sculpture of a Noble

M13934

On display

Statue in black basalt of a seated official with hands resting on the upper legs. He wears a wig and a kilt with his upper body left bare. The sides of the chair are inscribed with hieroglyphs and the back of the figure is supported by a pillar. The name of this seated figure is missing but the hieroglyphic inscription reveals he was a hereditary regional governor and royal acquaintance [rpa HAtya rx nsw]. This is an exceptional example of Middle Kingdom art that is not very well represented in British collections. The broad flat face and the eyes have parallels with the art of the Middle Kingdom, especially those manufactured during the reign of King Senwosret II that display realistic physiognomy. A sketch on the object (profile) and a transcription of the text was made by Professor Percy Newberry in 1918. The statue was described as being weathered on the left side and that the nose and feet were lost. The statue was broken apart when the Museum was bombed in the Second World War. About six pieces were recovered from the ruined gallery but remained unidentified until 22 June 2009. They were reassembled in 2017 – the first time the statue has been on display since 1941.