Bronze statuette of Thutmose IV


Statuette of Thutmose IV, 1400–1390 B.C.E., 19th Dynasty, ancient Egypt, bronze, silver, calcite, 14.7 x 6.4 cm (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Statuette of Thutmose IV, 1400–1390 B.C.E., 19th Dynasty, ancient Egypt, bronze, silver, calcite, 14.7 x 6.4 cm (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Large Kneeling Statue of Hatshepsut, c. 1479–1458 B.C.E., Dynasty 18, New Kingdom (Deir el-Bahri, Upper Egypt), granite, 261.5 x 80 x 137 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Large Kneeling Statue of Hatshepsut, c. 1479–1458 B.C.E., Dynasty 18, New Kingdom (Deir el-Bahri, Upper Egypt), granite, 261.5 x 80 x 137 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The posture of the king kneeling and holding two pots in offering to a deity first appears in the reign of Hatshepsut (about 1450 B.C.E.). It then becomes a common pose during the New Kingdom (about 1550–1070 B.C.E.), and there are several such statues in the British Museum.

In this example, the king’s name, Thutmose IV, is written on his belt, although not in a cartouche. He wears the nemes head-dress and a conventional short royal kilt.

Very few metal statues survive that date from before the Late Period (661–332 B.C.E.), though the Egyptians did have the technology to make large copper statues as early as the Old Kingdom (about 2613–2160 B.C.E.), if not before. Perhaps the scarcity of metals meant that such statues were usually melted down and the material re-used. Egypt’s increased wealth during the New Kingdom may be a reason why more examples survive from then than from earlier periods.

The eyelids and the cosmetic eyeline extending from the outside corner of the statuette’s eyes are inlays of an alloy known in Ancient Egyptian as hesmen kem. This was intended to react with the air into a black color and it imitates the effect of eye paint. The eyeball and its brown iris are a glass inlay.

© Trustees of the British Museum

Cite this page as: The British Museum, "Bronze statuette of Thutmose IV," in Smarthistory, May 25, 2021, accessed July 25, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/bronze-statuette-of-thutmose-iv/.