Dwarf Khnumhotep

Limestone statue of the dwarf Khnumhotep, “Overseer of Ka-priests”, and dancer at the funeral of the Sacred Bulls.
Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, c. 2350–2170 B.C.

Statue of dwarf Khnumhotep
Statue of dwarf Khnumhotep

Khnumhotep, the priest and overseer of the royal wardrobe, was an Egyptian dwarf who suffered from physical deformity. He is represented with his torso exaggeratedly large in proportion to his short legs and arms. 

The expression of his face is very characteristic. He has a broad, fat chest and belly and relatively large ears. His name and titles are inscribed on the base of the statue.

In ancient Egypt physical disabilities or body deformities were considered as divine attributes granted to humans by the gods. This was expressed in representing certain gods with misshapen bodies or as dwarfs, like god Bes, Hapi, forms of Ptah and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris.

The ancient Egyptian tolerance for disabled appeared as well in having dwarfs and other malformed persons among the house hold of the kings and high officials.

Statue of dwarf Khnumhotep. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Inv.nr. CG 144.
Statue of dwarf Khnumhotep

Some of those disabled persons attained high positions in the ancient Egyptian court, namely the dwarfs Seneb, Periankhw and Khnumhotep, as well as Roma, the door keeper who has a shortened leg.

Now at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Inv.nr. CG 144.