The Ritual Figure is a wooden statue, made up of 16 pieces of cedar and sycamore wood, that dates back to the Twelfth Dynasty in Egypt (c.1920-1880 B.C.E). Plastered and painted, it represents a man wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt and a divine kilt. Essentially, this figure embodied the essence of a man, whether god or mortal, with the purpose of providing certainty for perpetuation of life through tomb and temple decorations.
This piece is an example of Middle Kingdom Egyptian art which emphasized detailed depictions of gods, human beings, heroic battles, and nature. Hieroglyphs were often rendered as tiny works of art themselves; some stood for phonetic sounds while others stood for objects or concepts. This ritual figure comes from The Met’s collection which includes approximately 26,000 objects dating from the Paleolithic to the Roman period.
Lastly, worth highlighting is that ancient Egyptian art is characterized by its regularity in terms of form; each part follows strict principles such as proportionality-making it idealized yet clearly recognizable. The Department of Egyptian Art at The Met received its first pieces in 1906,having since overseen its sizable collection ever since making it one the most well-regarded collections globally for all things Ancient Egypt.