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Kneeling statue of Hatshepsut

Period:
New Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 18
Reign:
Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III
Date:
ca. 1473–1458 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, "Hatshepsut Hole" (depression east of temple of Thutmose III), MMA 1922–1923
Medium:
Granite, paint
Dimensions:
H. 69 cm (27 3/16 in) - original height approximately 87 cm (34 1/4 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
23.3.2
  • Description

    The Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut

    Maatkare Hatshepsut (ca. 1479–1458 b.c.) was not the only female
    pharaoh in the history of ancient Egypt. Nitocris (at the end of
    Dynasty 6), Nefrusobek (at the end of Dynasty 12), Tawosret (at
    the end of Dynasty 19), and of course, Cleopatra VII also come to
    mind. But Hatshepsut was arguably the most important woman
    ever to occupy the throne of Egypt. Her ascension to power
    initially came about because of the early demise of her husband
    and half-brother Thutmose II, whose son by another wife (Isis),
    Thutmose III, was still an infant. An ancient text described it thus:
    [Thutmose II] ascended into heaven and united with the
    gods, while his son (Thutmose III) stood [officially] in his
    place as king of the two lands,… while his sister (actually,
    aunt), the god’s wife, Hatshepsut, was conducting the affairs
    of the country, the two Lands being in her care.
    At first, Hatshepsut’s rule had indeed the character of a regency,
    and during that time, she was usually depicted as a queen. Then,
    step by step, attributes of male kingship entered the representations
    of Hatshepsut. From about the seventh year (ca. 1473 b.c.) after
    her husband’s demise, she appeared in the full regalia of a male
    pharaoh and began to claim to be the actual daughter of the
    supreme god of Thebes, Amun, as well as to have been chosen
    by him through an oracle. Until the end of Hatshepsut’s days,
    however, the young Thutmose III continued to function as the
    junior partner on the throne.
    Hatshepsut’s reign was, above all, a peak period for the arts in
    Egypt. The last vestiges of Hyksos rule having been eliminated
    by this time, goods and ideas flowed freely among all regions of
    Egypt, and close relationships with neighboring countries opened
    the gates to the outside world. In an eastern Delta royal palace
    or stronghold, for instance, painters from the Aegean island of
    Crete were employed to decorate walls according to their Minoan
    style and iconography, while in Thebes, Egyptian artists initiated
    the fine tomb decoration that became a glory of New Kingdom
    art. By coordinating and aligning the sacred buildings along the
    processional routes in the area of Thebes (present day Luxor),
    Hatshepsut’s architects created an unprecedented example of
    ancient spatial planning, and the temples at Karnak and Deir el-
    Bahri gained a grandeur and beauty still admired today.
    Hatshepsut’s reign saw military campaigns into countries south
    and east of Egypt, but the female pharaoh appears to have been
    most proud of an expedition she sent into the land of Punt
    (perhaps in the region of modern Somalia), from which myrrh trees
    and gold were brought back as offerings to the god Amun. The
    expedition was depicted in narrative reliefs in her temple at Deir
    el-Bahri, which also housed the sculptures exhibited in this room.

  • Provenance

    Excavated at Deir el-Bahri by the MMA, 1922-23. Acquired in the division of finds, 1923.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
549033

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