Double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis

This double seated statute of Kinebu and his wife, a singer for Amun, named Isis (Ancient Egyptian: Aset or Iset), was usurped (reused/recycled) by the pair, and originally dates from the reign of Amenhotep III, c. 1390-1353 B.C. rather than the lifetime of Kinebu and Isis, who lived and died during the reign of Ramesses VIII, c. 1130 B.C.

Usurping or recycling statues or statuettes was rather common, especially in the Ramesside Period. Ramesses the Great, or Ramesses II, was famous for reusing statues of previous kings. Historians have noticed that for some kings, just adding a new cartouche or name upon a piece was sometimes enough, but other times, features of the statue may be altered to fit the current style of the time or to try and gain resemblance to the usurper.

Double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis. August Kestner Museum
Double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis. August Kestner Museum

Here, in this double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis, it is thought that their fashions had been altered to suit the fashion of their time period.

Kinebu’s dress is rather crudely carved upon the torso, which was most likely bare when originally created. Such a need to change the costume is a fascinating insight into the changing times of the New Kingdom.

This piece is made from limestone and was delicately painted, with remnants of the painted wig and lips still present.

Detail of the back of the double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis
Detail of the back of the double seated statuette of Kinebu and Isis

The contrast of the black wigs against the pale limestone is very striking and makes the piece very pleasing to the eye. So much so that, Art Collector and German diplomat, August Kestner, kept this exact relic upon his desk in Rome.

Today, Kinebu and Isis are now on display in the August Kestner Museum (Museum August Kestner), which opened in Germany in 1889.  

August Kestner (1777-1853), with two Ancient Egyptian vessels dating from the New Kingdom (c.1300 B.C.) seen upon the desk behind him. (Painted in Rome by Carl Rahl (1812-1865), 1842/43. Property of Museum August Kestner)
August Kestner (1777-1853), with two Ancient Egyptian vessels dating from the New Kingdom (c.1300 B.C.) seen upon the desk behind him. (Painted in Rome by Carl Rahl (1812-1865), 1842/43. Property of Museum August Kestner)