Czére Andrea szerk.: A Szépművészeti Múzeum közleményei 102-103. (Budapest, 2005)

ZOLTÁN HORVÁTH: A unique servant statue in the Egyptian Collection

A UNIQUE SERVANT STATUE IN THE EGYPTIAN COLLECTION ZOLTÁN HORVÁTH Egyptian ideas about the afterlife were governed by the firm belief that the body should be preserved and the kl of the deceased should be regularly provisioned. For this reason, small servant statuettes were placed inside the tombs of the 25th-19th centuries B.C. to reproduce the goods of the funerary estate for perpetuity through the power of magical representation. In exchange for some minor Egyptian artefacts, a small wooden statuette apparently of this kind was offered to the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest in 1943 by a Hungarian antiquities dealer who claimed that it had been formerly the property of no less than the father of psychoanalysis and likewise a legendary collector of art and antiquities, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) (figs. 1 and 2).' It was Aladár Dobrovits, then keeper of the Egyptian antiquities, who presented the figure to the scholarly public in the first volume of Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts. Despite all its peculiarities (some of them highlighted here for the first time), the painted statuette portraying a squatting man has been honoured as the first work of early Egyptian sculpture that entered our collection and is currently on view in the showcase illustrating the funerary arts of the First Intermediate Period. 2 The statuette, measuring 11.7 cm in height and 6.6 cm in width, is carved from a single piece of wood with arms made separately and attached with dowels.' The whole body including the joints is covered wdth a skin of gesso that is painted brick red and yellow. 4 The trunk leans slightly forward, and the figure wears a black, so-called bag­wig that reveals the large earlobes. The shoulders are remarkably broad, the chest is robust, yet the waist is slim. The right arm is raised and bent at the elbow, and a