Triads of King Menkaure

These three schist triads of Menkaure were found by the Egyptologist George Reisner in the valley temple of Menkaure near his pyramid in Giza. Menkaure was the fifth king of the 4th Dynasty. These are the oldest triads in the history of ancient Egyptian statuary.

1- The king can be seen standing, the muscles of his body well defined, wearing the white Hedjet crown of Upper Egypt, a false beard, and a short kilt. His left leg strides forward, in the conventional manner. The goddess Hathor, to his right, holds his hand, identifiable by the cow’s horns and sun-disc that surmount her wig, and by the inscription below, which reads, Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore Tree in all her places. To his left stands a personification of the Diospolis Parva Nome (Hu district) of Egypt, herself identifiable by the standard above her head.

Triad of King Menkaure
Triad of King Menkaure

2- Menkaure in the center, accompanied by Hathor on his right, standing with her hands at her sides. The personification of the Theban Nome stands to his left, presented as a short man with his left leg advancing forward, and his arms down by his sides. As with the other Nome personification described above, he is identifiable by the standard above his head. The king’s beard has broken off.

Triad of King Menkaure
Triad of King Menkaure

3- This piece shows the king accompanied by Hathor and a Nome Goddess with the crouching jackal emblem of the nome of Cynopolis. Menkaure is wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt.

Triad of King Menkaure
Triad of King Menkaure

Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, ca. 2530-2500 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 46499, JE 40679, JE 40678

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