Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / The Egyptian Collection

Statue of Amenhotep and Merit

The type of the embracing couple is very widespread in Egyptian art and is tied to the hope of living with one’s family in eternity. The couple in this statuary group is composed of the “first prophet of Ptah” Amenhotep and the “musician of Amon” Merit with their eight children – four boys and four girls – whose figures are hollowed out and sculpted in high relief on the chair bearing their parents.

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Amenhotep, whose complexion is rendered with the brick-red colour used for men, is wearing a long skirt, a wig and the false beard that identifies him as deceased; Merit, whose skin is the soft yellow colour typically used for women, wears a long close-fitting tunic and a wig that conceals her shoulders. The work is thought to be Theban in origin due to the names and titles of the figures.

Provenance: Thebes (?). Palagi Collection
Datation: New Kingdom: late 18th – early 19th dynasty (1539–1190 BC)
Material: Painted limestone
Dimensions: height cm 79
Inventory #: EG 1814

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Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection