Detail of the seated statue of King Amenhotep III

Amenhotep III ruled Egypt for thirty-eight years (c. 1391-1353) during what is largely considered the Golden Age of the 18th dynasty. The wealth and success of his reign are reflected in art – over 1,000 statues of Amenhotep III were commissioned during his lifetime. Additionally, his mortuary temple in Thebes was the largest of its kind at 328 feet wide by 1,968 long when it was constructed.

Detail of the seated statue of King Amenhotep III
Detail of the seated statue of King Amenhotep III

Here, the King is represented seated on a throne with his arms placed on his legs, palms down. He wears a short kilt, the nemes headdress with a fake beard, collar, and a bull’s tail which is visible between his legs. Both of his eyes have a rimmed upper eyelid – a feature which was employed frequently in depictions of Amenhotep III. The sides of the throne depict intertwined lotus and papyrus flowers symbolizing the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. All art in ancient Egypt had a magical purpose – it is likely that worshipers at the temple would have made offerings to Amenhotep III through this statue or used it to facilitate prayer to his ka, or life force, for assistance.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1353 BC. Grandiorite, from Kom el-Hetan, West Thebes. Now in the British Museum. EA 4

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