The Statue of Memi and Sabu and The Statue of Gudea
During the reign of Gudea in the ancient city of Lagash, the great city temples were adorned with several statues of him. While Lagash collapsed many centuries ago, the Statue of Gudea (which dates back to ca. 2090 B.C.) still sits pretty.
The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu, on the other hand, date back to the Fourth Dynasty (ca. 2575–2465 B.C.) of ancient Egypt.
What is the statue of Gudea made of?
The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu were made from limestone. Meanwhile, the statue of Gudea is a stone sculpture made from diorite.
The Statue of Gudea portrays him as the ruler that he was, seated before his subjects with his hands folded into a prayer or greeting gesture. Meanwhile, The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu depict the intimacy of Memi and Sabu; standing side-by-side, with Memi’s left hand hanging down Sabu’s shoulder and her right hand wrapped around his waist.
One thing both statues have in common is the presence of inscriptions. The inscriptions on the statue of Memi and Sabu suggested they were acquainted with a royal family, while that of the statue of Gudea described him as royalty and a hero, expressing the wish for him to live long.
The level of intimacy observed in the Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu suggests they were a couple. So, the statue could be a depiction of love. However, while their hands tell us they may have been lovers, their facial expressions say otherwise. It seems they were connected physically and not emotionally. Both husband and wife are dressed in similar clothes, which means they belonged to the same social class. Furthermore, the simplicity of their clothes shows they were probably commoners or servants.
This, however, isn’t the case with the Statue of Gudea. The Statue of Gudea represents royalty and power – this is evident in the portrayal of Gudea. The statue shows him seated, wearing a royal robe like he was about to address his subjects, unlike the Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu, which shows them standing, like subjects.
Just like many others, the statue of Gudea was made to be placed in the great temples of Lagash Gudea built. Placing his statue in the temples was a way of preserving his legacy for the next generations to come and for the people to continue serving and worshipping him like a god.
The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu were made to be buried with the dead (most likely their masters), to continue serving them even in the afterlife.
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