Priest Sepa and his wife Nesa
Sepa was a priest who lived during the 3rd Dynasty of Ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom (c. 2700-2620 B.C.)
With titles such as, “Responsible for Royal Matters”, “Greatest of the ten of Upper Egypt”, “Priest of the god Kherty” and “Herdsman of the White Bull”, Sepa was clearly a man of status and importance within society, and the statues of he and his wife Nesa showcase this.
Within his Mastaba at Saqqara, two statues of Sepa made of limestone, depicting the Priest with a round wig, holding a staff of honour and a sekhem sceptre, were discovered. These lifesize figures, along with the statue of Sepa’s wife Nesa are today considered masterpieces of the Old Kingdom and are housed in the Louvre.
These statues, from the 3rd Dynasty (2700-2620BC), are three of the earliest known examples of monumental statuary of private rather than divine or royal individuals, although they are high-ranking members of the king’s entourage.
The two on the right represent the same man, Sepa, and the woman is Nesa. Both assume traditional poses for their respective genders: Sepa, with his left leg forward, and Nesa, standing with her feet together. The wigs and linen clothes and green- and black-kohl-lined eyes demonstrate their social status as do Nesa’s bracelets and Sepa’s sceptre.
Their high social standing is confirmed by the inscriptions at their feet: Sepa was close to the king, called the “Greatest of the ten of Upper Egypt,” and held powerful administrative posts and was “responsible for Royal Matters.” He also assumed religious responsibilities as “Priest of the god Kherty” and “Herdsman of the White Bull.” Nesa’s designation as “Royal Acquaintance” shows that she, too, was familiar to the king.