Figur einer nubischen Amme

Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München


The 20.4 cm high wooden statuette (acacia) shows a slender standing woman. The nose and feet as well as the right leg are broken off. The woman is wearing a tight-fitting sleeve dress that extends to the calves. The edge of a spherical wig frames the face. This was originally made of real hair, which is only evidenced today by preserved wooden pins, which are placed in drill holes irregularly distributed over the head.

The woman has her arms bent in front of her chest and is holding in her clenched fists the ends of a cloth, which runs in two narrow straps over her upper body and shoulders. On the back of the woman, the cloth widens to a sling in which a toddler is sitting. The child’s head is turned to the right, its arms are bent and the legs are protruding out of the cloth.

As she is carrying the child, the woman is to be identified as a wet nurse, her hairstyle and the facial features characterise her as a Nubian. Nubian women were often employed as servants and wet nurses in Egyptian households. In some cases, the names of the wet nurses and other family members are displayed on the graves of the children who died early. This is evidence of the wet nurses’ permanent integration into the nuclear family and their close bond with the children.


Nora Kuch

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