Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München


The small figurative group is one of the oldest three-dimensional depictions of an Egyptian royal couple enthroned inside a tent-like palace. It probably served originally as attachment to a rod and crowned a royal sceptre.

Below a canopy borne by two palm trunks, the oldest sign for “palace”, two humans sit uprightly on a high pedestal next to one another. On the left, a woman with her legs tucked under, whose body is almost completely enveloped by her garment in the characteristic depiction of royal wives in the Old Kingdom. Next to her, a man is enthroned on a low, pillow-shaped base. He wears a long garment that reaches down to his ankles and leaves the left shoulder uncovered. In these two people, one may probably recognise the depiction of a royal couple.

On the front of the throne’s pedestal, a monkey is depicted in bold relief that walks a large dog on a lead. On the back, four men sit behind one another. The first holds a standard, while the other three hold their right hands against their chests and clutch a rod in their stretched-out left hands. They match the archaic form of the “soldier”-hieroglyphic and represent, by means of the plural of their “Threeness”, the entire guard of the royal couple.

On either side of the canopy are two niches crowned by round arches with two male figures sculpted in half relief. The figure to the right is keeling and the one to the left is standing-striding, probably so far the oldest confirmation for this type of ancient Egyptian statuary sculpture that would become canonised in future. It is solely dressed in a phallocrypt and its face is framed by a full beard. The figure on the right, kneeling on a pedestal with a slightly bent forward upper body is draped into a long garment and wears a high conical head covering that is similar to the crown of Upper Egypt.

Possibly, these two men may be interpreted as representatives of Upper and Lower Egypt, in which case this attachment presents an important monument of the unification of the Egyptian empire in ca. 3000 BC.


Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München (SMAEK)