Yuny and his wife Renenutet
19th Dynasty, New Kingdom
These figures represent Yuny seated next to his wife Renenutet. Yuny, who lived in the city of Asyut, was a chief royal scribe and holder of many other offices, perhaps including that of physician. Additional inscriptions on the base of the statue further elaborate Yuny’s responsibilities. On the center fold of Yuny’s pleated skirt is an inscription that reads: “May everything that comes forth upon the offering table of [the god] … and all pure food that comes forth from the Great Enclosure [the temple complex at Heliopolis] be for the chief scribe, royal scribe of letters, Yuny, justified.”
Renenutet affectionately places her right arm around her husband’s shoulders. On the back of the statue she is described as a singer of Amun-Re. In her left hand, she holds by its metal counterweight a heavy bead necklace called a menat. Menat necklaces were ritual implements that were held in the hands and shaken like cymbals, especially in the service of the goddess Hathor, but also when entering the presence of other deities..
Appropriate to their high secular and religious positions, Yuny and Renenutet wear the elaborate wigs and fine linen attire fashionable in their time. Renenutet is adorned with a lotus fillet and a necklace called a broad collar. The beads are in the shape of nefer hieroglyphs (meaning “good” or “beautiful”), offering vases, and floral petals. Traces of black remain on the wigs. The couple sit together on a bench with elegantly carved lion-paw feet.
On the back of the chair in both sunken and raised relief are two scenes illustrating the ancient Egyptian ideal of affection and remembrance among family generations. In the upper register, Yuny and Renenutet receive offerings from their son; in the lower, Renenutet offers food and drink to her parents.
(Source: The Met Museum)