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Block from the Sanctuary in the Temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 11
late reign of Mentuhotep II
ca. 2010–2000 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Temple of Mentuhotep II, EEF 1907
Limestone, paint
H. 36 cm (14 3/16 in); l. 98 cm (38 9/16 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Egypt Exploration Fund, 1907
Accession Number:
  • Description

    King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep (Mentuhotep II) was revered by the Egyptians as the ruler who reunited Egypt after the era of disunity (the First Intermediate Period) that followed the end of the Old Kingdom. Descended from a family of Theban rulers the king built his tomb and mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri in western Thebes. This relief was originally part of the decoration of the temple's main sanctuary that was added to the building at the end of the king's reign. The fine balance between figures and inscriptions on this block as well as the clear outline and regular proportions of the king's image with its individualized facial features exemplify the peak of a relief art that had developed over the decades while the vast temple complex was built and decorated. The figure of the goddess Hathor on the right of the block was chiselled away during the Amarna period, when King Akhenaten propagated the sole worship of the god Aton. Hathor was repaired in plaster in early Dynasty 19 and some of the paint on the whole block may also have been renewed at the time.

  • Provenance

    Naville excavations at Deir el-Bahri working for the Egypt Exploration Fund. Acquired by the EEF in the division of finds. Given by the EEF to the Museum for its contribution to the excavations, 1907.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History