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Egyptian wooden figure of a man, Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, 2345-2190 B.C.

Conservation:  Originally covered with stucco and colored. Remains of the stucco coating partly preserved. Surface partially weathered, insert arms missing, left foot joined, left leg reattached, part of right foot missing.
Material:  Wood
Dimensions:  40 cm / 44 cm with base
Provenance:  Former collection Mr. and Mrs. P., Paris, heritage in fragments since the 1970s; Acquired at auction, December 2022, Munich (Germany).


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Frontal standing man with the left leg set forward in crotch position. The arms were made separately as inset parts. One arm was originally bent and held an object, probably a scepter. The other arm hung straight down and also held an object. The man was dressed in a short skirt. He was wearing a short wig.

The small wooden statuettes were placed in the tomb as substitutes for the physical body and, as such, could receive offerings. The statuettes were placed very close to the mummy, even, in some cases, inside the coffin. The statuettes acted as an alternative resting place for the spirit of the deceased in case the physical body was damaged. Previously reserved for the king and his family, non-royal tombs began to be equipped with such statues, both wooden and stone, during the 4th Dynasty, and the practice became widespread in elite burials in the 6th Dynasty. In the figures of the Old Kingdom, the length and thinness of the limbs seemed somewhat exaggerated.


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