Skip to main content

Statue of Amenhotep Son of Hapu

Temple of Amun at Karnak

Amenhotep Son of Hapu was one of the great historical figures of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The inscriptions on this statue name three of his many titles: Hereditary Prince, Royal Scribe, Scribe of Recruits. The badly worn inscription on the papyrus roll which he holds states that he was appointed supervisor of the transportation of personnel from Thebes in connection with the first thirty-year jubilee of Amenophis III, which was probably celebrated in the Temple of Amun at Soleb in Nubia, and that this statue was a gift from the king placed in the Temple of Amun at Karnak as a mark of royal favour.

Around the base is written a plea for passing worshipers in the temple to recite the offering-formula and pour libations, in return for which the statue promises to act as intercessor before Amun. The names of Amenhotep's royal patron Amenophis III are carved on the right arm and breast.

Black granite. Height 51 in. Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Found in 1913

The statue was found in 1913 during excavations at the Tenth Pylon of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak. With it was excavated another statue of the same dignitary which is almost identical except for its varying inscriptions. The second statue mentions that he was in charge of the quartzite quarries at Gebel Ahmar near modern Cairo and transported from there to western Thebes colossal statues of Amenophis III (probably to be identified with the so-called Colossi of Memnon). He again claims the power of divine intercession.

Transformed back in to time to Ancient Egypt

Amenophis III

As an unprecedented favour Amenophis III gave to Amenhotep Son of Hapu a mortuary temple comparable in size and magnificence to those of the kings. This temple, which was endowed in perpetuity, must have contributed to his reputation as a revered sage and to his deification one thousand years later. The inscriptions on the twin statues from Karnak suggest that supernatural powers were attributed to him even during his lifetime.

Amenhotep Son of Hapu

While another famous statue of Amenhotep Son of Hapu in Cairo shows him as an old man, realistically portrayed, here he appears to be about fifty, with somewhat idealized features. He is dressed only in a short skirt and an elaborate wig, of a type which first became fashionable in his time.

Seated tailor-wise, he writes on the papyrus-roll opened on his Intellectuals frequently commissioned statues in this scribe's pose, a tradition which began in the Pyramid Age, more than a thousand years earlier. The sophisticated and conventional style is new, and so is the humility of the bowed head in the presence of the god.

Scroll to Continue


Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on September 17, 2014:

It's pretty amazing how these relics have survived the millenia. I wish the middle east wasn't a war zone so that more efforts could be placed on understanding man's most ancient past and origins. I think there is a lot to be learned, or re-learned.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on September 14, 2014:

Beautiful. So fascinating. A work truly inspired by the divine. Thanks for sharing.

Related Articles