• Egypt, Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty (c. 2500 BC)
  • Polychrome limestone
  • Inv. 159

Low-relief depicting Princess Meritites

Fragment of a limestone low-relief taken from the tomb of Princess Meritites and her husband Akhtihetep, in Giza. The piece shows two female figures (the two daughters of Meritites and Akhtihetep) flanking a cartouche composed of two cords and bearing the name of the Pharaoh Khufu, part of the name of the figure on the right, in hieroglyphs.

The canonical representation of the two figures, who are facing left before an important person who would be shown on the next block, partially reveals the use of some conventional rules in the pose for wall reliefs. Thus, the trunk is simultaneously seen from the front and in profile, the heads are in profile while the eye is seen frontally.

The small block of limestone still has traces of green, the only surviving colour from the piece’s original chromatic variety since reliefs were generally painted.

MacGregor Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Howard Carter at the sale of the MacGregor Collection, Sotheby’s, London, 8 July 1922.

Araújo 2006

Luís Manuel de Araújo, Egyptian Art. Calouste Gulbenkian Collection. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2006, pp. 60–2, cat. 2.

Updated on 22 april 2022

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