Colossal quartzite statue of Amenhotep III
The colossal quartzite statue of Amenhotep III is an Ancient Egyptian sculpture dating from the 18th Dynasty (c.1350 BC). It was found in the massive mortuary temple of the pharaoh Amenhotep III on the West Bank of the River Nile at Thebes (Luxor) in Egypt. Only the head of the broken colossal statue survives. It is part of the British Museum's Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan collection.
This brown quartzite statue was one of a series of near-identical statues that flanked the west side of a colonnaded courtyard. When complete, it would have measured more than 8 metres (26 feet) high without its base, and the body would have stood in the classic pose of the deity Osiris with legs together and arms crossed, holding the crook and the flail, which were symbols of Egyptian kingship. The statue would have worn a short royal kilt and the red crown of Lower Egypt. The discovery in 1964 of the head of one other statue and numerous body-fragments of yet more has allowed the reconstruction of the statue's pose. The statues on the other side of the courtyard were similar, but were made of red granite and wore the white crown of Upper Egypt.
The pose has been interpreted as symbolising the first Sed festival of Amenhotep III, when it was believed that the pharaoh underwent a rite of rejuvenation and became a god while still living. This happened on the 30th anniversary of his rule. As a god, Amenhotep III was then worshipped through this statue and similar ones.
The head is 1.17m high, 81 cm wide and 66 cm deep. It was purchased from Henry Salt in 1823. It has the reference number EA 7 and is currently displayed in the Museum's Great Court. From September 2006-February 2008 it was sent on loan to the United States of America as part of the "Temples and Tombs" travelling exhibition.
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