Statue of Horemheb as a Scribe
This statue was made before Horemheb ascended the throne. Horemheb was a royal scribe and general of the army under Tutankhamun. He continued to serve during the reign of Ay and eventually succeeded Ay as king.
By having himself depicted as a scribe, Horemheb declares himself to be among the elite group of literate individuals, thus following a tradition more than a thousand years old of depicting great officials as men of wisdom and learning. He sits erect, but relaxed, his gaze slightly down. Across his knees he unrolls a papyrus scroll on which he has composed a hymn to the god Thoth, patron of scribes.
A shell containing ink lies on his left knee. Over his left shoulder is a strap with a miniature scribe’s kit attached to each end. A figure of the god Amun is incised on his forearm, perhaps indicating a tattoo.
In this statue the unlined, youthful face is belied by the potbelly and the folds of flesh beneath the breasts. These artistic conventions indicate that the subject has reached the age of wisdom. Although the scribal pose exhibits the frontal orientation common to all formal Egyptian statue, it may be appreciated more fully as a piece of sculpture in the round since it has no back pillar.
The youthful face reflects the features seen on many statues depicting Tutankhamun (50.6), and the style of this magnificent life-size sculpture retains some of the softness and naturalism of the earlier Amarna Period while looking forward to later Ramesside art.
New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, ca. 1336-1323 BC. Granodiorite, h. 113 cm (44 1/2 in); w. 71 cm (27 15/16 in); d. 55.5 cm (21 7/8 in). Now in the Metropolitan Museum. 23.10.1