The archeological find, which belonged to the Collection of Cardinal Stefano Borgia conserved at the Museo Borgiano in Velletri, was sold to the Museum of Naples by Camillo Borgia in the early 19th century.
The statue is made of basalt with the techniques of chiselling and polishing.
The headless and armless torso is the only remaining part of the statue; it represents a standing man wearing a short skirt fastened with a belt. The whole figure is covered by hieroglyphic texts and engraved sketches, containing various anthropomorphic and zoomorphic deities
The lady of Naples
The grey diorite statue, chiselled and polished, is the most ancient object of the Egyptian Collection of the Museum and dates back to the Third Dynasty (2700 – 2640 BC). Discovered at Saqqara, it belonged to the Collection of Cardinal Stefano Borgia and it was sold to the Museum by his nephew Camillo in1814.
Despite the name, the statue does not portray a female figure, but an official wearing a shoulder-length wig with horizontal waves and vertical lines. The body, wrapped in a long skirt that leaves the bust exposed, is characterized by a short neck, stumpy shoulders, a protruding chest and thick ankles. The statue, which can be clearly included in an archaic typology for attitude and position of the face, was probably placed in the serdab (niche with the statue ka of the dead person) of a mastaba (a type of low and rectangular funerary structure) of the Old Kingdom. Hence, it represents one of the first examples of statues created for this purpose and destination.
The papyrus from Fayyum, which belonged to the Collection of Cardinal Stefano Borgia, was sold to the Museum of Naples by his nephew Camillo in the early 19th century. The text dates the papyrus to the end of the second century AD (192 -193 AD).
Extant in 23 fragments, this papyrus contains an inscription written in cursive Greek, arranged, on the largest fragment, in 15 columns, each of them containing 33 lines, relating to a group of workers who worked at the carrying out of water channels at Tebtynis, a center of Fayyum, in 192 -193 AD: the text contains their names and their places of origin, that is, for the most part, Ptolemais Hormu, today Illalun.
The archeological find was studied and published in 1788 by Niels Schow, a Danish academician, after whom it was named; this document has a great value not only because it indicates the social structure of Roman Egypt, but also because it has contributed to the birth of papyrologic studies in Italy, being the first Greek papyrus published here.
The basalt sculpture, chiselled and polished, is the first Egyptian archeological find to arrive at the Museum of Naples, where it already appears in the inventories as early as 1803. The inscription, engraved with hieroglyphic characters on two columns in the back side of the statue, contains the so-called “formula di Sais” with the name and the titles of the official depicted, which allows, together with the iconographic type, to assign the statue to the 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC).
The sculpture portrays a male figure kneeling on a parallelepiped base with his arms bent and outstretched to support a naos (small temple) balanced on his lap. In the naos there is Osiris (Egyptian god of the death and the hereafter), standing, wearing a crown on his head and holding a whip in his right hand and a scepter in his left hand.
The statue wears a wig that, falling down to his shoulders, leaves his ears exposed, a short pleated tunic and an amulet around his neck portraying the goddess Hathor.
The wooden sarcophagus, carved and polished, which can be dated to the Ptolemaic period (1087 – 332 BC), was found at Akhmin and comes from a donation made by E. Stevens in 1885.
The anthropoid sarcophagus is characterized by a black long-feathered wig that frames a gilded face, probably a female face. Her breast is adorned with a usekh necklace, made up of twelve rows in a pattern of alternate red, green and beige hawk heads. Between the necklace and the chin there is a winged solar disk, while an Isis (Egyptian goddess of motherhood), with a feather in each hand and udjat eyes at the sides, is on the base of the pectoral. The remaining surface, along the legs, is divided into five horizontal registers; the last four registers, beginning from the bottom, are crossed longitudinally by a hieroglyphic inscription legible only in the initial part. In the middle of the first sector is Nephtys, the mummy lying on the embalming bed, next to which there are Anubis (patron god of the dead) and Isis.