Life-size statue of Pepi I

Source: Tiradritti, Egyptian Treasures, p. 89

This hollow copper statue of Pepi I was found by the Quibell-Green expedition at Hierakonpolis of 1897-1898 in the cache of the Temple Precinct. It had been buried there some time after the reign of Pepi I, along with several other, older artefacts and may probably have belonged to the temple furniture before it fell into disuse.

With its 1.77 meters height, this statue is the oldest known large-scale metal Ancient Egyptian sculpture. It is made of copper plates beaten to shape and attached to a (now lost) wooden core with copper nails. The eyes of the statue are inlaid, the pupils of a black stone set in eyeballs made of limestone. The back of the head and the part between the hip and the thighs are missing, which suggests that the crown and skirt worn by the king were made of a different material. Traces of gilding remain on the toes of the statue. The staff is a modern-day feature but judging from the position of the king’s arm in this statue, the original statue would have held a staff.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017