Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, OIM 10618

Nykauinpu and his wife, Hemetradjet
Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, probably reign of Niuserre, ca. 2477-2466 B.C.
Giza (?), Tomb of Nykauinpu
Purchased in Cairo, 1920
Limestone, pigment
H: 20.5; W: 13.5; D: 9 3/4 in (52.4 x 34.7 x 25.3 cm)

The hieroglyphic text on the base of this statue indicates that it represents the tomb owner Nykauinpu and his wife Hemetradjet. The woman places her arm affectionately around her husband's shoulder. Her other arm, of exaggerated length, is stiffly at her side, the fingers extended. She wears a blunt-cut wig of curls or braids, and her own hair is visible at the hairline. Her face is broad and dominated by her large and heavy nose; her eyes are placed high on her face. Her tight, heavily pleated, dress with wide shoulder straps emphasizes the roundness of her belly and thighs. Her skin is painted a light yellow.

Her husband wears a traditional Old Kingdom wrapped kilt with an inverted pleat on the front. The loop of the knot that secures the kilt is visible at his waistline. He wears a rounded wig. The proportions of his body are highly abstracted; the distance from his foot to knee is very short while the length from his knee to his waist is overly long. His limbs (as well as the arms of his wife) are strangely flattened and detailed with the indication of muscles and tendons. Each hand grasps a rounded cylinder which may be an abbreviated staff, or simply the indication of negative space, although that area was not painted black as was the area between the man's legs and between his toes. The figures are attached to a thick rectangular back pillar. The woman stands away from the background, leaving considerable stone between her and the support. Unlike the majority of Old Kingdom statues, the woman stands to her husband's right.

2002 The University of Chicago