Statuette of Thutmose III
Beautifully poised, this small bronze statuette of king Thutmose III offers wine or milk to a god. This figure is the earliest known New Kingdom royal bronze statuette and, with a few Late Middle Kingdom copper and copper-alloy precursors, it initiates the tradition of bronze statuary in Egypt.
The fluid, athletic modeling of his body and details of his costume indicate a date in mid–Dynasty 18. In fact, the statuette represents the great king Thutmose III, as is revealed by traces of his prenomen (or throne name), Menkheperre, on the belt buckle.
It is a “black” bronze, darkened to heighten the luster of its precious metal inlays. The left eye rim and the nipples retain their original gold inlay. The body of the statuette was solid cast, with separately cast arms (one is missing) fitted onto dowels.
“… [It] is well known that from very early the pose is associated with offering and, so, clearly expresses the idea of the king’s direct interaction with the gods which is at the focus of Egyptian belief. The king’s deference toward the god expressed in the kneeling pose may be viewed as an extension of two of his roles: one, his role as representative of Egypt to the gods, and, secondly, an aspect of his own divinity, his role as dutiful and beloved son of the gods.”
― Royal Bronze Statuary from Ancient Egypt: With Special Attention to the Kneeling Pose, Marsha Hill, Egyptological Memoirs 3, Styx/Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2004
Kneeling bronze kings dating to the New Kingdom are rare. They are found in greater numbers in the Third Intermediate and Late Periods. Such figurines are frequently represented on the great processional barks of the gods, expressing the respectful yet dignified role of the king—himself a god—in ensuring the continuing worship of the gods.
New Kingdom, mid 18th Dynasty, reign of Thutmose III, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Now in the Metropolitan Museum. 1995.21