Hatshepsut in a Devotional Attitude

Hatshepsut is only depicted totally as a lady in one other statue.

The ideal king for the ancient Egyptians was a young man in his prime. Physical realism was less important, therefore an old man, a child, or even a woman with pharaonic titles may be depicted in this ideal shape, as in this depiction of Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh. Despite the fact that many of Hatshepsut’s statues portray her as the ideal ruler, the inscriptions invariably hint to her feminine gender, sometimes by using both masculine and feminine grammatical forms, and sometimes by adding her personal name, Hatshepsut, which means “foremost of noble ladies.”

On the upper terrace of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, this statue was one of a pair that stood on either side of a granite gateway. She is depicted with a king’s nemes-headcloth, artificial beard, and shendyt-kilt on her head. Her devotional attitude, with both hands open and resting on the front of the kilt, was first seen in statues of Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senwosret III, who reigned 300 years before Hatshepsut. Six of these statues were consecrated by Senwosret in the temple of Mentuhotep II, the Middle Kingdom’s founder, which is located directly south of Hatshepsut’s temple. Hatshepsut’s official architecture and sculpture were influenced by prototypes made earlier in Egyptian history, as had been the case throughout Egyptian history.

Object Details

Hatshepsut in a Devotional Attitude

New Kingdom

Dynasty 18, Reigns of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

1479–1458 B.C.

 Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Senenmut Quarry, MMA excavations, 1927–28

Granite, paint

H (without base) 242 cm (95 1/4 in); w. (of base) 74 cm (29 1/8 in); d. 111 cm (43 11/16 in)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art