Statue of the Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu

This statue evokes the intimacy of Memi and his companion, Sabu, although she is set somewhat apart by her oblique gaze.

Until recently, the flowering of nonroyal statuary was believed to have occurred only in the 4th and 6th Dynasties. Recent studies indicate, however, that many of these nonroyal statues, including Memi and Sabu, are better dated to the 4th Dynasty, contemporary with the great royal statuary programs. The early date for Memi and Sabu is based both on her coiffure and on the reciprocated embrace.

Statue of the Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu
The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu

The statue was used in the ancient tombs and burial grounds in Ancient Egypt. The purpose of the statue of Memi and Sabu was to give the deceased or departed spirits a comfortable home and place where they could receive gifts of food that are laid outside their tomb during their demise (Metropolitan Museum of Art a, 2016). So the function of the statue of Memi and Sabu was to provide a resting place for the spirits of departed members of the Egyptian society while facilitating them with food at the same time.

Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, ca. 2575-2465 BC. Painted limestone. Dimensions: H. 62 × W. 24.5 × D. 16 cm, 28.8 kg (24 7/16 × 9 5/8 × 6 5/16 in., 63.4 lb.). From Western Cemetery, Giza. Painted limestone. Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 48.111

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