Block Statue of Hotep

In this example of a block statue made of granite, Hotep is wearing a smooth, flaring wig with a slight central parting that leaves his protruding ears exposed. In contrast with the modeling of the body the face, with its soft, delicate lines, is carefully finished. The eyes, with the typical eye-paint, are large, the nose is regularly shaped and the mouth small with full lips.

The chin is thrust slightly forwards and is adorned with a short beard striated with horizontal incised lines. The arms rest flat on the upper surface of the cube while the large legs with thick ankles and broad feet are well defined below. Deep incisions delineate bone structure and musculature. An offering verse and the name and titles of the figure are incised on either side of and between the legs.

Block Statue of Hotep
Block Statue of Hotep

Block statues or cube statues have been known in Egyptian art since the time of the Middle Kingdom and were favored until the Late Period. They are sculpted from a cubic block, from which only the head emerges. The thighs are brought up to the chest and the arms are usually crossed on the knees. They were less expensive and more durable than other types of statuary. Most of the detail is reserved for the head of the individual being depicted. In some instances the modeling of the limbs has been retained by the sculptor.

Middle Kingdom, early 12th Dynasty. From Saqqara necropolis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo JE 48858