Statue of a Standing Lady

This limestone statue depicts a standing lady which she wearing a shoulder-length wig consisting of graceful tresses, and the white dress with shoulder straps of elite ladies covered by a broad collar.

The straps of the dress and the broad collar were indicated in paint only, of which only traces remain. She is standing upright with her arms hanging down at her sides, but not pressed against her body because a bridge is left between the two. The full face seems personalized.

Statue of a Standing Lady
Statue of a Standing Lady

The lady appears to have a cheerful, somewhat mischievous personality. The modelling and the size of the statue lead to the conclusion that it was made for the closed statue room (Serdab) of one of the many mastabas in the Giza necropolis.

Limestone statuary played a significant role in the art and culture of Old Kingdom Egypt. During this period, which spanned from approximately 2686-2181 BCE, limestone was a commonly used material for creating statues and sculptures.

Limestone was chosen for its abundance and ease of carving, making it a preferred medium for sculptors. The statues created from limestone in Old Kingdom Egypt were primarily representations of kings, gods, and elite individuals. These statues served various purposes, including religious, political, and funerary.

In religious contexts, limestone statues were often placed in temples and sanctuaries as representations of deities. They were believed to embody the divine presence and were objects of worship and veneration. These statues were carefully crafted to depict the idealized form of the gods, conveying their power, authority, and eternal nature.

In political contexts, limestone statues were used to portray pharaohs and members of the royal family. These statues were intended to convey the king’s divine status and authority, emphasizing their role as the intermediary between the gods and the people. Limestone statues of pharaohs were often depicted in a rigid and formal pose, wearing the traditional regalia and symbols of kingship.

In funerary contexts, limestone statues were placed in tombs and mortuary complexes. These statues, known as ka statues, were believed to house the spirit or life force of the deceased. They were created to ensure the continuity of life in the afterlife and to provide sustenance and companionship to the deceased.

Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, ca. 2345-2181 BC. Made of limestone. Now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. 9999