Servant Girl Statuette

This statuette is of a servant girl probably the best known of all the Egyptian objects in the Oriental Museum’s collection. It is reputedly from the tomb of Meryptah, High Priest of Ptah at Thebes.

It is famous both for the quality of the craftsmanship and for the natural pose of the girl’s body. The jar the girl carries at her left side is so large. She has to thrust her hip under it to help support the weight. This creates a pose which breaks away from the usual style of most Ancient Egyptian art.

Servant Girl Statuette
Servant Girl Statuette

The girl wears only a Bes-figure amulet on a string around her neck and a gilded girdle around her hips. Her left ear is pierced with a tiny earring hole and there are socket holes on both sides of the head to hold a wig, which has been lost. The jar on the girl’s hip is actually a cosmetic container.

The statuette is believed to have been part of the burial equipment of Meryptah, High priest of Ptah under Amenhotep III. Meryptah is only known from a few objects that date on stylistic grounds to the end of the 18th Dynasty. He appears on a relief most likely coming from his tomb at Saqqara.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1353 BC. Made out of boxwood, ivory and gold. Now in the Oriental Museum, Durham. EG4007

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