Sunday, 16 November 2008

Block Statue of Amenhoptep son of Hapu - Luxor Museum

If you are visiting Luxor Museum do not be surprised if you find things there which are not in the catalogue. I was asked about a block statue of Amenhotep son of Hapu and for the life of me had no recollection and suggested to the questioner to ask EEF. This is a fantastic resource which I subscribe to and no matter how obscure the question they come up trumps. At first everyone was pointing at the seated scribal statue but Victor V. Solkin pointed out a statue not on the catalogue and Ray Johnson of Chicago House elaborated further. I do love the way so many Egyptologists are so approachable and helpful.

The block statue in question is a colossal indurated limestone block statue (1 meter in height) of Amenhotep Son of Hapu (Cairo Catalogue 583). It was found in the 19th century by Mariette between the Third Pylon of Amenhotep III and obelisk of Thutmosis I at Karnak; Legrain found additional pieces in 1903. The statue was moved to the extension of the Luxor Museum a few years ago from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. That is why it is not listed in the Luxor Museum guide books. It was moved to the extension - which has a military theme - because of the reference in the autobiographical inscription where Amenhotep refers to his early years as a 'scribe of recruits.'

The front, back, and sides of the statue are completely covered with the longest autobiographical inscription that survives from Amenhotep's monuments. Although half the face is missing, the style of the surviving eye (very long and narrow) indicates that the statue was commissioned as a royal gift to this favored and extraordinary official during Nebmaatre Amenhotep III's last decade.

For photographs, descriptions, transcriptions, translations, and commentary of the extensive autobiography inscribed on all sides of the statue (in French), see Alexandre Varille, "Inscriptions concernant l'architecte Amenhotep, fils de Hapou," Bibliothèque d'étude (BdÉ) XLIV (Cairo, 1968); pages 32-49, plates V - VIII.

Ray Johnson, Chicago House, Luxor

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