AN EGYPTIAN BLACK GRANITE SEATED SCULPTURE FOR NEITH, OVERSEER OF THE CATTLE OF AMUN
AN EGYPTIAN BLACK GRANITE SEATED SCULPTURE FOR NEITH, OVERSEER OF THE CATTLE OF AMUN
AN EGYPTIAN BLACK GRANITE SEATED SCULPTURE FOR NEITH, OVERSEER OF THE CATTLE OF AMUN
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PROPERTY OF THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, SOLD TO BENEFIT FUTURE ACQUISITIONS
AN EGYPTIAN BLACK GRANITE SEATED SCULPTURE FOR NEITH, OVERSEER OF THE CATTLE OF AMUN

NEW KINGDOM, 18TH DYNASTY, 1550-1295 B.C.

Details
AN EGYPTIAN BLACK GRANITE SEATED SCULPTURE FOR NEITH, OVERSEER OF THE CATTLE OF AMUN
NEW KINGDOM, 18TH DYNASTY, 1550-1295 B.C.
16 ¼ in. (41.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Said to be from Diospolis Parva.
Mrs. Theodore Bachman, Scarborough, New York, acquired 1962 or prior.
Mr. and Mrs. A. Barozzi, Chicago, Illinois, acquired circa 1980.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, gifted from the above, 1980.
Literature
H.G. Fischer, "The Cult and Nome of the Goddess Bat," JARCE, 1962, p. 15, n. 61.
E. Cruz-Uribe, "An Eighteenth Century Dynasty Statue from Diospolis Parva," Sarapis, vol. V, no. 2, 1980, pp. 40-42.
Exhibited
Richmond, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Accession no. 80.163).

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Lot Essay

With three inscriptions, the one on the right side of the chair reading:
"A boon which the king gives and which Hpr-k3-r (Sesostris I), who is in Hiw (gives namely) an invocation offering (consisting of) bread, beer, cattle, fowl, alabaster, clothing, incense, oil and a thousand of every good and pure thing on which the god lives. May one breath [the sweet, northern] wind therein as a justified one, one of excellent character, the Overseer of the Cattle of Amun, Neith, justified";

The one on the left side of the chair reading: "A boon which the king gives to Hathor, Mistress of Hiw (gives.) May she cause that everything which will be brought to her [offering table] everyday...breath (?) which comes in and goes out from the necropolis upon the monument of the Lord of the Universe in accordance with the followers of Maat....to ka of [the Overseers of the Cattle of Amun, Neith, justified.'

The back column reading: "Revered before Ptah-Sokar, the Osiris, lord of the Holy Land, the Overseer of the Cattle of Amun, Neith, justified, before the Great God."

The inscription on this votive statue informs us that it was once owned by Neith, Overseer of the Cattle of Amun. E. Cruz-Uribe notes that it is otherwise unknown for a man to have had a feminine name (as Neith is a female deity), while women occasionally had masculine names (see op. cit., p. 41, n.14) This begs the question: is the person represented here a woman? The all-enveloping robe gives no clue and the title "Overseer of the Cattle of Amun" is not known for women, as women did not regularly hold office. The Tuthmoside dating of the statue however encompasses the reign of the female regent Hatshepsut (r. 1502-1482 B.C.) and as such we must consider the possibility of a woman holding office at that time.

Neith, whoever this person may have been, was likely employed by a local temple dedicated to Amun, the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air, in the town of Diospolis Parva (modern Hiw, also indicated by the text). Interestingly, the inscription also invokes deified Sesostris I, the second pharaoh of the 12th dynasty of the Middle Kingdom who was known for dramatically expanding the boundaries of Egypt. Both H.G. Fischer and E. Cruz-Uribe note in their writings on this piece that the town of Diospolis Parva might possibly date to Sesostris' I reign (1956-1911 B.C.).
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