Statue of Satmeret, Wife of Neferherenptah
Painted limestone standing statue of Satmeret, Wife of Neferherenptah, called Fifi. He was a purification priest and prophet of the mortuary cults of the kings Khafre and Menkaure. He was thus of considerable influence in Giza, where he was buried in his own Mastaba. His tomb contained statues, rather simple in character of himself, of his wife, ‘the Royal Acquaintance’ Sat-Meret; his son Tesen, a butcher in the palace slaughterhouse; and his daughter Meretites.
The increase in the number of mastabas built by 5th Dynasty dignitaries around the pyramids of their sovereigns required the craft workshops of Memphis to work for a wider and more diversified clientele. As had always happened, the royal models were the primary source of inspiration but the need to explore new means of expression began to appear in private sculpture in ways that were independent of the stylistic conventions of official art.
The political and social balances were altering; increasingly broader sections of the population monarchy was gradually diluted by works of more modest craftsmanship, though more vital and less academic, that mirrored the emerging social classes. Adhesion to the formal traditional rules of sculpture in the statue of Satmeret is evident (static figure, the solid blocks of the limb, conventional
pose) but not absolute.
Old Kingdom, 5th to 6th Dynasty, around 2345 BC. Painted limestone, found in situ in serdab of G 8412, Giza. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 87806