Statue in a Niche
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Funerary Gallery 3, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
In the tomb, a statue of the deceased served as the focal point. When the ka-soul occupied the statue, priests made food and drink offerings to the deceased. These statues take many forms, but the standing statue like this one, stepping forward to meet the priests, was one of the most popular. This statue illustrates the belief that the deceased’s spirit could pass through a stone panel in the tomb, carved to resemble a door, to receive offerings.
ca. 2600-2345 B.C.E.
Dynasty 4 to Dynasty 5
45 1/4 x 22 1/8 x 8 in. (114.9 x 56.2 x 20.3 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Large tall rectangular door panel with a standing figure of a man carved half in the within the framework. The man wears a bobbed wig with curls in tiers, and a short kilt which is pleated on one side. His feet, which would have protruded out from the frame have been broken off. The face is broad with small eyes and mouth.
Condition: Sides and rear fairly smooth; all front surfaces chipped and worn.
Statue in a Niche, ca. 2600-2345 B.C.E. Limestone, 45 1/4 x 22 1/8 x 8 in. (114.9 x 56.2 x 20.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.24E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.24E_PS1.jpg)
overall, 37.24E_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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Tell me more.
This type of statue was common in tombs of the Old Kingdom period, but fell out of fashion after that.
During the Old Kingdom period, we see tombs containing more and more statues of the deceased, more places for the soul to inhabit to accept offerings. This led to a variety of new sculpture styles, but not all of them lasted.