Concubine of the Dead
JE 47710 Cairo Antiquity Museum
Material: Blue Faience
Size: Height 13 cm
Location: Theban Necropolis, Tomb of Neferhotep (TT316)
Excavation: Metropolitan Museum of Art Excavations of 1922-1923
Period: 11th Dynasty, Reign of Mentuhotep (2061-2010 BC)
Interestingly, though decorated and painted female figures interpreted as symbols and amulets associated with fertility have been dated as early as the Preynastic Period, funerary assemblages from the Middle Kingdom often lack the lower part of their legs. It is not clear whether this was believed to have some magical or apotropaic value such as preventing the statuette from leaving the tomb.
This intensely blue figurine wears a smooth, three-part wig that leaves the ears uncovered. On the front of the thighs are diamond shapes that in real life would have been painted with henna.
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