Causing Their Names To Live Exhibition
An overview of the first temporary exhibition of the Harrogate loan at the Egypt Centre: Causing Their Names To Live
During the course of the three-year loan of the Harrogate material to the Egypt Centre, three temporary exhibitions are planned. The first, which will be launched at the museum’s twenty-fifth anniversary event on the 7th October 2023, is called Causing Their Names to Live. This title takes inspiration from a common vivification formula found on statues, stelae, and other objects (Nelson-Hurst 2010; 2011). For the ancient Egyptians, one of the most important things was that their name would be remembered. In the autobiography of Montuhotep, the official says that “anyone who shall remember my good name, I will be his protector in the presence of the great god” (Landgráfová 2011, 179). Another official, Intef, even goes as far as to hire a Lector Priest “so that my name would be good, and so that the memory of me would last (until) today” (Landgráfová 2011, 38).
The thirty objects chosen for this exhibit include stelae, statues, shabtis, funerary cones, a canopic jar, and scarabs. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a seated statue (HARGM10634) of a lady called Senetre, the upper half of which is now missing. Fortunately, the inscriptions on the sides and back of the chair do survive, revealing that the statue was dedicated by her father Nebamun “in order to cause her name to live”. Did Senetre die young and without children, the ones who would normally be expected to undertake the vivification duties? The statue is probably the only surviving object dedicated to this lady, which makes it particularly poignant.
Since the Harrogate collection arrived in Swansea, the names of over eighty individuals have been identified. Future exhibitions will be dedicated to the collections of Ogden (2024) and Kent (2025). Therefore, they will not only fulfil the wish of the ancient Egyptians, but also the collectors immortalised with them by causing their names to live!
Statue of Senetre (HARGM10634)
Click on the links below in order to see the objects associated with each name.
Landgráfová, Renata 2011. It is my good name that you should remember: Egyptian biographical texts on Middle Kingdom stelae. Prague: Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, Czech Institute of Egyptology.
Nelson-Hurst, Melinda G. 2011. The increasing emphasis on collateral and female kin in the late Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period: the vivification formula as a case study. In Horn, Maarten, Joost Kramer, Daniel Soliman, Nico Staring, Carina van den Hoven, and Lara Weiss (eds), Current research in Egyptology 2010: proceedings of the eleventh annual symposiu\m, which took place at Leiden University, the Netherlands, January 2010, 116–123. Oxford; Oakville, CT: Oxbow.
Nelson-Hurst, M. G. 2010. “…who causes his name to live”: the vivification formula through the Second Intermediate Period. In Hawass, Zahi and Jennifer Houser Wegner (eds), Millions of jubilees: studies in honor of David P. Silverman 2, 13–31. Cairo: Conseil Suprême des Antiquités.