Torso of a High General

Period: Late Period

Date: 4th century B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Meta-graywacke

Dimensions: H. 69.9 cm (24 1/2 in), W. 32.8 cm (12 15/16 in), D. 27.0 cm (10 5/8 in)

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Gift of Henry Walters, by exchange, Asher B. Edelman Gift, Judith and Russell Carson Gift, Ernest L. Folk III Bequest, Ludlow Bull Fund, and funds from various donors, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.91


With its luxuriously modeled flesh and powerful leg thrust and hip torsion perceptible beneath the surface play of the garment, this torso reaffirms the bold beauty of the traditional striding kilted figure. The sixth century B.C. saw the lapse of this elegantly simple, assertively physical pose. At the beginning of the fourth century, the surge of vitality that brought about the overthrow of Persian domination also initiated a period of artistic renewal, during which this quintessentially Egyptian pose was revived.

The inscription on the back pillar confirms the owner's position at the epicenter of this period's events. It identifies him as a "first generalissimo of His Majesty," the holder of priestly offices at Busiris, and speaks of his role in restoration at Busiris and Abydos of damages caused by foreigners, an allusion to the Persian occupation. Unfortunately, the owner's name has been lost.

Significant details include a style of frilled kilt first known in the time of Nectanebo I (380–362 B.C.) and rarely thereafter, a rare sculpted forefinger, and an Isis knot incised on the shoulder.