Bust of Mentuemhat

This bust head belongs to Mentuemhat, the Fourth Prophet of Amun, Mayor of Thebes and Governor of Upper Egypt. He was the greatest man in Upper Egypt during the 25th Dynasty and at the beginning of the 26th Dynasty.

The head depicts him as an old man who is bald. He has narrow eyes, well-defined cheekbones, and a wrinkled face. The statue reflects his intelligence and strong personality.

Bust of Mentuemhat
Bust of Mentuemhat

Mentuemhet is one of the most recognizable nonroyal names from ancient Egypt. He was a rich and powerful mayor and priest of Thebes and Governor of Upper Egypt who rebuilt the city after the Assyrians destroyed it.

Mentuemhet’s power over Thebes likely is what inspired him to portray himself as a pharaoh in his statuary, like he was king of Egypt—and in the case of Upper Egypt, he de facto was.

He is known from many statues and was buried in tomb (TT34) of the Theban Necropolis. Mentuemhat’s father likely served as Mayor of Thebes during the reign of Shebitku. Montuemhat’s father Nesptah passed on the position of Mayor of Thebes to his nephew Remmakheru and later to Mentuemhat himself.

Mentuemhat served during the reigns of Taharqa and Psamtik I, which cover parts of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt and 26th Dynasty of Egypt.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Granite, from Karnak. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 31884