Statue of Mentuemhat

This standing statue portrays the nobleman Mentuemhat, who played an important role in the clergy of Amun-Re at Karnak and in the administration of Thebes. It shows him as a middle-aged man in the usual striding pose.

Although the body was rendered in the traditional artistic style, well built and proportioned, his wrinkled facial features reveal his advanced age. His head is covered with a heavy wavy wig that falls upon the shoulders. He wears the pleated Shendyt kilt, fastened with a belt on which his name and titles are engraved.

Standing Statue of Mentuemhat
Standing Statue of Mentuemhat

This kind of kilt and engraved belt were mostly reserved for royal personalities before the Late Period. The statue stands on a base inscribed with the offering formula and the name and titles of Mentuemhat.

Who was Mentuemhet?

Mentuemhet is one of the most recognizable nonroyal names from ancient Egypt. He was a rich and powerful mayor and priest of Thebes and Governor of Upper Egypt who rebuilt the city after the Assyrians destroyed it.

Mentuemhet’s power over Thebes likely is what inspired him to portray himself as a king in his statuary, like he was king of Egypt—and in the case of Upper Egypt, he de facto was.

He is known from many statues and was buried in tomb (TT34) of the Theban Necropolis. Mentuemhat’s father likely served as Mayor of Thebes during the reign of Shebitku. Montuemhat’s father Nesptah passed on the position of Mayor of Thebes to his nephew Remmakheru and later to Mentuemhat himself.

Mentuemhat served during the reigns of Taharqa and Psamtik I, which cover parts of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt and 26th Dynasty of Egypt.

Seated Couple: Mentuemhat's Ancestors
Seated Couple: Mentuemhat’s Ancestors
Tomb of Mentuemhat (TT34), El-Assasif, Thebes
Cleveland Museum of Art. 1949.493

A deceased vizier, whose name ended in Nufer, and his wife seated before a table of offerings. Presumably they were relatives of Mentuemhat. The work is in the style of early 18th Dynasty.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Excavated by Georges Legrain (1904). Fourth prophet of Amun, Prince of Thebes and Governor of Upper Egypt. Grey granite, from Karnak Cachette. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 36933; CG 42236