Relief of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II and the Goddess Hathor

Period: Middle Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 11

Reign: late reign of Mentuhotep II

Date: ca. 2010–2000 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Temple of Mentuhotep II, Egypt Exploration Fund excavations, 1907

Medium: Limestone, paint

Dimensions: H. 36 cm (14 3/16 in); W. 98 cm (38 9/16 in)

Credit Line: Gift of Egypt Exploration Fund, 1907

Accession Number: 07.230.2


After reunification, Theban artists were likely able to visit Old Kingdom centers in the north and copy the subjects and style of their artworks. Relief decoration gradually developed distinguishing features, such as lower surfaces, simplified detail, and broader proportions. This brilliantly painted wall relief originates from the Amun sanctuary added to the back of the funerary temple of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II at the end of his reign. Mentuhotep here wears the tall white crown of Upper Egypt. Behind him is the goddess Hathor, who was closely connected to Deir el-Bahri. She was hacked out during the reign of King Akhenaten (ca. 1340 b.c.), when images of deities other than the solar god Aten were destroyed. Ramesside restorers repaired her in plaster that has subsequently decayed.