The Royal Descendant Hetepheres

The Royal Descendant Hetepheres

Egyptian, early Fifth Dynasty
The Royal Descendant Hetepheres, about 2440 B.C.
Limestone
Museum purchase
1934.48

Copyright Notice

Hetepheres was the mother of the pharaoh's hairdresser, Re-Wer, who was honored in a stone tomb at Giza. Carved in high relief from a single slab, this life-size statue of Hetepheres was originally part of a family sculptural group of five figures that included her husband, son, and grandchildren. Her sculpted likeness furnished a recognizable image for her ka, or life essence, to inhabit, should her mummified physical body be destroyed. It also served as a focal point for veneration by her survivors, who would visit the necropolis on feast days.

Now headless, Hetepheres stands with her left arm at her side; her right arm was once raised, probably to embrace her grandchild. Enlivened by the subtle modeling of swelling breasts, slender waist, and hips revealed beneath a sheer garment, the rigid, artificial pose of the figure- fixed for eternity- is typical of Old Kingdom art.

-SHA

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