The earliest private statue of ancient Egypt: a re-examination of the statue of Hetepdief

Scott J. Allan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The statue of Hetepdief has never been accurately published, leading to erroneous interpretations of the base inscription and identification of the statue figure. This study provides a detailed line drawing of the base inscription, for the first time, to allow a more complete understanding of the statue and provide new information about the inscription. Unusual features of the base inscription set this statue apart from other Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom sculpture. These include the only complete spoonbill used as a phonetic hieroglyph and inverted lines of text, facing the statue rather than the viewer, neither of which are seen in other statues of this date. Dating can be based on the last king named on the statue, Ninetjer, making this the earliest private statue and earliest lines of extended text attested. While unclear if the figure is named Hetepdief, his association with the pr-dšr, and no explicit religious title, should discount his identification as a priest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalArcheo-Nil
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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