Statue of King Mentuhotep II in the Jubilee Garment

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 11
reign of Mentuhotep II
ca. 2051–2000 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Temple of Mentuhotep II, originally from the courtyard, MMA 1921–1922
Sandstone, paint
h. 252 cm (99 3/16 in); w. 45 cm (17 11/16 in); d. 42 cm (16 9/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Twenty two statues of this type stood beside (but not in the shadow of) sycomore and tamarisk trees that lined the processional path through the forecourt of the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri. The rough, rectangular base was inserted into the ground. The king wears the traditional short mantle of the pharaoh's thirty-year jubilee festival (Heb Sed). In his fists were the now missing scepter and flail of Egyptian kings and the god Osiris, probably made of metal. The head on this piece wears the "red" crown of Lower Egypt. No head with the "white" crown of Upper Egypt was found; but it is conceivable that the statues along the south side of the path wore the "white" Upper Egyptian crown, the ones along the north side the "red" Lower Egyptian one. At some later time all statues from the forecourt were decapitated and broken up. Some bodies were buried close to their original places, others were moved around. Most heads are missing. Both the body and head of the Museum's statue were found in the area of the temple of Hatshepsut that is adjacent to the Mentuhotep temple. It is not certain that the head really belonged to this particular body.

    The style of the statue is intentionally archaic, presumably because Mentuhotep II is commemorated as the ruler who reunified the country after the First Intermediate Period and thus restored Egypt to its original state first created during the late Predynastic and early Dynastic Period.

  • Provenance

    Museum excavations, 1921-1922. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History