Statue of Senusret III

This statue of Senusret III sculpted of black granite was found in the forecourt of the temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahari. It was one of the six statues that Senusret III dedicated to the temple of his ancestor Mentuhotep. Senusret restored and endowed this temple, which was the site of an important local annual festival. It is likely that the statues were dedicated out of respect for the earlier king and the festival. This is the first known statue representing a sovereign in the posture of a prayer.

The king wears the pleated nemes headdress with the cobra on his forehead and a pleated kilt. His hands are represented flat over his kilt while he prays to the gods or carries out a priestly function. His mood is written on his face: here he seems exhausted, and the wrinkles between his eyes both accentuate this and suggest his advanced years. Senusret III was an aggressive administrator and a shrewd warrior. Here he is represented with these tired eyes after leading several long campaigns to Nubia and Canaan to restore Egyptian power.

Statue of King Senusret III
Statue of Senusret III

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret III, ca. 1878-1839 BC. Black granite, from Deir el-Bahari. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. RT 18.4.22.4