Egyptian / Statue of an Offering Bearer / ca. 1985 B.C.E.Egyptian
Statue of an Offering Bearer
ca. 1985 B.C.E.

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Creator Nationality: African; North African; Egyptian
Creator Name-CRT: Egyptian
Title: Statue of an Offering Bearer
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: -198
Creation End Date: -198
Creation Date: ca. 1985 B.C.E.
Object Type: Sculpture
Classification Term: Statues
Materials and Techniques: Gessoed and painted wood
Dimensions: H. 44 1/8 in. (112. 1 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 20.3.7
Credit Line: Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920

This tall, slender woman, like the model of a riverboat (20.3.1), was discovered in a hidden chamber in the tomb of Meketre. Of the thirteen models and figures received by the Museum in the division of finds from the tomb, this offering bearer is the finest work of art. Looking at this graceful figure, you can see the difference between a work made in wood and one of stone. Similar conventions guide the artist, but the more flexible and forgiving medium of wood allows the sculptor to free the entire body, including the limbs, and to create what is truly a piece of sculpture in the round.

The woman personifies an estate that would have provided food offerings for Meketre's spirit in perpetuity. She holds a live duck by its wings in one hand and balances a basket of food primarily cuts of meat with her other. Her dress is decorated with the feather pattern often associated with goddesses, and this may refer to Isis and Nephthis, who protected the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife. Because the act of offering has great significance and involves motion, female offering bearers are often shown in the striding pose usually reserved for male figures in Egyptian art. A statue similar to this one, but carrying bread and beer in her basket, is in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

When they were uncovered in 1920, the models of Meketre were the most detailed, best preserved, and most diverse set of wooden funerary models ever found. The same can be said of them today.

AMICA ID: MMA_.20.3.7
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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