viernes, 19 de septiembre de 2014


Date: New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX, reign of Ramesses II (c. 1279-1213 B.C.E.)

Material: Quartzite

Provenance: Memphis, Egypt

Nedjem ("sweet one") sits on a cushion, his body covered with a robe, his knees bent so that they are almost level with his chin, his feet flat on the ground, and his arms crossed over his knees. The outline of his figure suggests a block, hence the term, "block statue." He has a small beard, full wig, and sandals. Between his legs is a smaller figure, which represents the god Ptah-Tatenen, a form of the Memphite god, Ptah, who was believed to be not only the creator god but also the land from which all was created. Ptah-Tatenen wears, on top of his wig, a crown composed of two feathers and a sun disk. He is wrapped as a mummy and holds a scepter. The hieroglyphic inscription in sunk relief on Nedjem's back pillar tells us that he was the "King's Scribe, Great Steward, King's Messenger to every foreign land, and Overseer of the Granaries of the Western Border."

The statue was placed in the Temple of Ptah in ancient Memphis to represent Nedjem for eternity. There is much evidence that lets us know that Nedjem is from Memphis. First, and most important, an Egyptologist found records of an excavation in ancient Memphis which took place about 1840. The discovery of this statue of Nedjem is recorded in this report. Also, the quartzite of Nedjem's statue is a stone found particularly in the Memphis area.

During the American Civil War, a Yankee sea captain trading in the Mediterranean docked at Alexandria, Egypt, with a half-empty ship. He bought the statue of Nedjem, along with some others, to serve as ballast. As the ship neared the American coast, it was captured by Confederate forces and escorted to New Orleans, where its cargo, including Nedjem, was taken to the Customs House. After the war, the statue was taken to Boston, where it stayed in a garden for years. Eventually, it entered the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1975, it was sold to The University of Memphis, together with 43 other Egyptian antiquities. Today, these artifacts form the core of the permanent collection of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology.
Inv. no.: 1981.1.20

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