Feature object: Finding identity: Horemhab and Amenia, New Kingdom

Feature object: Finding identity: Horemhab and Amenia, New Kingdom
While the visitors at the British Museum filed past the many items in the sculpture gallery on the ground floor in 2016 when I visited, very few of them gave this statue more than a passing glance. Like most objects, it has many tales to tell to those who look close enough to find the clues.
The statue depicts a seated couple holding hands for eternity. Although there are no inscriptions to identify the owners, their wigs and style of dress clearly identify them as high ranking individuals from the New Kingdom.
However, it is possible piece together clues to work out their identity from available data:
☥ This is the only known example where the couple is portrayed with 3 hands touching. If you look closely you can see the female figure has both her hands on that of the male.
☥ A fragment of hands from a statue was discovered at the tomb of Horemhab at Saqqara in 1976. It was unusual because it seemed to show 3 hands.
☥ Thirty years later, Dr René van Walsem, who had worked at the site, wondered if the fragment might be a part of a statue in the British Museum (EA 36)
☥ A copy was made of the fragment with the permission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities
☥ The fragment was then compared to EA 36 in the British Museum to ascertain if it was a match.
Although the British Museum has cautiously left the identities of the New Kingdom nobles portrayed in this beautiful statue vague, it is most likely that it represents Horemhab and his wife Amenia.
These days it would be possible to scan the fragment and make an accurate copy with a 3D printer, but in 2004 when these investigations were carried out, that wasn't possible. For more information about the process of identification see the official mission webpage: https://goo.gl/4qpfcE
This statue depicts Horemhab with his wife from his tomb at Saqqara. He is a fascinating person to study because he has two tombs, one at Saqqara and one in the Valley of the Kings (KV 57). His first tomb was built when he was a high ranking official under Tutankhamun, the second, after he had become king of Egypt.
The linked photo is 'zoomable' so you can see the fine detailing on the wigs, Horemhab's belt and the carved animal feet on their chairs.


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