Female Acrobat

This limestone statuette of a female in an arched position dates from the Middle Kingdom and was discovered within Tomb D303, at Abydos. The tomb is associated with a man named Sa-Inher.

The woman is archived as an acrobat due to the pose, however, it is also quite likely she was a dancer. Perhaps she was set in stone performing the funerary dance known as the “Khetebt”.

Female Acrobat
Female Acrobat. Brooklyn Museum. 13.1024

The woman’s head is arched backwards, and it appears her long hair cascading down onto the floor is missing. The statuette is very similar to a ostracon from around 1292–1076 B.C. (see here or below), depicting a painting of a woman in the exact same pose, which is often referred to in this modern age as “The Crab” or as it’s called in Yoga practice; the “Ardha Purvottanasana”.

Female Acrobat
Female Acrobat. Brooklyn Museum. 13.1024

The statuette was made from limestone and traces of paint still remain, including red and black (on the remnants of the hair). Unfortunately the face is also damaged. The statue was assembled and is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, within the Funerary Gallery 3, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor.

Female dancer from Deir el-Medina
Female dancer from Deir el-Medina. Museo Egizio. Cat. 7052

The statuette measures at 4 × 2 × 7 in. (10.2 × 5.1 × 17.8 cm), and dates from around 1938–1630 B.C., somewhere between the 12th and 13th Dynasty, making it a Middle Kingdom piece.


Limestone statuette of a woman in acrobatic pose
Middle Kingdom, 12th-13th Dynasty, c. 1938–1630 B.C.
From Tomb D303, Abydos, Egypt
Now on display at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC. 13.1024