This wonderful statuette of Amenhotep III is inscribed with the words, "Lord of Sed Festivals in the House of Rejoicing".
After ruling for 30 years, Egyptian pharaohs celebrated with a jubilee known as a Sed Festival. Here the king demonstrated his fitness to rule, received the gods' continued blessing and had his divine kingship (and rampant virility) symbolically rejuvenated. The ceremony was then repeated every three years.
In the tomb of Kheruef (TT 192)—a steward of Amenhotep's wife, Tiye—the walls were carved with scenes of the king's first and third jubilees. In one scene, Kheruef gushes that "the king appeared gloriously at the great double doors of his palace".
Amenhotep III ruled during Egypt's 18th dynasty, around 1350 BC. Baby-faced statues of King Amenhotep III like this one seem to date to the latter part of his reign and may be part of this program of renewal, designed to portray him as flushed with youthful energy.
As indicated by this statuette, for the occasion of his jubilee, the king sports his blue khepresh coronation crown, glistening with its gold brow band and gold uraeus.
Amenhotep III's statuette is now in the Brooklyn Museum. (No. 48.28).
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