Statuette of Imhotep

Egyptian, Late Period, 664-332 BC Bronze and silver 2009.024.001 Gift of the Forward Arts Foundation

Imhotep was among the most important figures in Egyptian history. He was the architect for the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, not only the first pyramid, but the first monumental stone building in history. For this accomplishment he was later revered as the god of architecture as well as of writing and medicine. Pilgrims to his temples and cult centers would have votive images of him made as offering such as this beautiful bronze sculpture.

He is shown here in a typical pose for images of the deified official, seated on a stool with a papyrus scroll stretched out across his lap. The sculpture is carefully detailed, even down to hieroglyphs written on the papyrus and the silver inlay on the whites of his eyes.