Small copper statue of Pepi I


Source: Tiradritti, Egyptian Treasures, p. 89

This small copper statue was found inside another life-size copper statue during the excavations at the Temple Precinct of Hierakonpolis in 1897/98.

The statue is hollow and was made in a similar way as its larger counterpart. It represents a striding, broad shouldered young man. Its vivid traits are emphasized by the black eyeballs set into limestone. A hole in the forehead suggests that a uraeus made of a different material once adorned the head of this statue. This would imply that the young man was considered a king.
Although the genitals are missing, it is not unlikely that this young man was represented naked, a sign of his youth. Indeed, there do not appear to be any traces that would suggest the presence of a skirt.

Based on its smaller size, its juvenile traits and the fact that it was supposed to have been part of a group with the life-size statue, the smaller statue is very often claimed to represent Merenre I, the son and successor of Pepi I. If this identification is correct and if the statue formed a group with the larger statue of Pepi I, then this statue could be seen as an indication that there was a co-regency between these two kings. There is, however, no inscription on the statue that would confirm this assumption. 
More recently, it has been suggested that this statue, even though it is made of the same material, was not necessarily part of a group with the much larger one and that it, in fact, represents Pepi I himself either at a much earlier age or rejuvenated after the Heb-Sed.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2021