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Museum purchase, M. H. de Young Endowment Fund
Dating from the zenith of Egyptian art and civilization, this nearly life-sized torso dates to the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and was probably carved for his royal jubilee. Three such events, called sed-festivals, intended to rejuvenate the failing powers of the aging ruler and emphasize his relationship with the gods, were held during the last decade of his reign. For these occasions Amenhotep III commissioned his royal workshops to produce sets of divine statues placed in temples at major sites throughout Egypt and as far south as the Sudan. In this highly polished statue, the god, who displays a similar corpulence to portraits of the king, wears a pleated linen kilt. He carries in his right hand the ankh, a symbol of life, while in his left he holds the was scepter, representing dominion. The loss of the head and the absence of an inscription make it impossible to identify the figure.