Statue of Hatshepsut
In this life-size statue, Hatshepsut is wearing the nemes headdress and the shendyt kilt. These are part of the ceremonial attire of the Egyptian king, which was traditionally a man’s role. In spite of the masculine dress, the statue has a distinctly feminine air, unlike most representations of Hatshepsut as ruler.
Hatshepsut, the most successful of several female rulers of ancient Egypt, declared herself king sometime between years 2 and 7 in the reign of her stepson and nephew, Thutmose III. She is adopted the full titulary of a king, including the throne name Maatkare, which is the name most frequently found on her monuments. Her throne name and her personal name, Hatshepsut, are both written inside oval cartouches making them easy to recognize.
The kingly titles on the sides of the throne are feminized to read “the Perfect Goddess, Lady of the Two Lands,” and “Bodily Daughter of Re.” Traces of blue pigment are visible in some of the hieroglyphs on the front of the statue and a small fragment on the back of the head shows that the pleats of the nemes headdress were originally painted with alternating blue and yellow pigments.
Why was the statue of Hatshepsut built?
Statues that depict Hatshepsut in a more feminine form, like this one, are in a seated pose, with hands flat on the knees. This suggests that they were intended to receive offerings. It would probably have been placed in less public areas of the temple such as the chapels on the upper terrace. Two of these statues depicts her unequivocally as a woman (29.3.3).
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Hatshepsut, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Indurated limestone, paint. H. 213 cm (83 7/8 in.); W. 50 cm (19 11/16); D. 119 cm (46 7/8 in.); 2750 lbs. From Deir el-Bahari, West Thebes. Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 29.3.2