Würfelfigur Bekenchons

Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München


Bekenchons' cube figure is one of the largest and highest quality examples of this type of statue. This is a highly abstract representation of a man squatting on a cushion on the floor, his body completely wrapped in a close-fitting garment; his arms lying crossed flat on the knees of his legs pulled against the body. As the high priest of Amun of Thebes, Bekenchons was the leader of all the building projects in the temple of Karnak. On the back pillar is one of the longest and most famous biographical texts, which describes Bekenchons' career with unusual precision, from starting school at the age of four, the first years of his military career, changing to the profession of priest and to his appointment as high priest in the temple of Amun in Karnak.

The discoverer of the statue has immortalised himself at the level of his left foot: the sculptor Jacques Rifaud was one of the amateur archaeologists of the early 19th century who assembled extensive collections on behalf of rich businessmen in Egypt, which were then shipped to Europe (with official permission) and offered for sale to the emerging Egyptian museums. Rifaud worked for the Italian consul Drovetti, from whom the then Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (1825-1848 King of Bavaria) acquired Bekenchons' cube statue in Rome in 1823. It was later to become one of the main works in the "Egyptian Hall" of his Glyptothek on Königsplatz.