Statue of Minemheb
It is actually a statue within a statue: Minemheb kneels to present a small altar, upon which squats a statue of the god Thoth in baboon form. Carved in extremely hard stone, Minemheb’s statue is nonetheless carefully detailed and superbly modeled. Special attention was given to the rendering of the baboon’s face. The heavy-lidded eyes and furrowed brow give the animal an almost contemplative expression.
Minemheb was one of the many court officials who helped prepare for Amenhotep III’s 30-year jubilee festival. Clearly, Minemheb regarded this as the high point of his career, since his title as chief of construction for the jubilee temple is the primary one provided on this statue.
When represented as a baboon, he symbolized those creatures who rose early with the sun, and was therefore held to be connected to the sun god Re. Baboons were a feature in early Egyptian festivals, but they later became important to the Early Dynastic Kings of Horus. The Egyptians associated Thoth with rebirth and the afterlife.
Thoth was one of the most cultured deities in the entire Egyptian pantheon: he was believed to have invented the art of writing, he also mastered medicine, mathematics and science. His infinite knowledge was matched only by his moral integrity, a peculiarity that made him the messenger and peacemaker of the gods.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1353 BC. Granodiorite, Overall: 45 x 16.6 x 28.3 cm (17 11/16 x 6 1/2 x 11 1/8 in.). Now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. 1996.28