Raramu and Ankhet
shall never be far away from you/While my hand is in your
hand/And I shall Stroll with you/In every favorite place.” –from
an ancient Egyptian love poem.
This statue of Raramu, an official of modest rank, and
his wife Ankhet shows Ankhet with her arm around her
husband’s shoulders. It is both a gesture of tenderness and a
traditional symbol of their married state. The sculpture comes
from Raramu’s tomb and indicates the expectation that the couple
would spend eternity together in the afterlife.
ancient Egypt a stable family was considered the basic unit of a
stable society. Marriage was arranged between the parents of the
bride and groom, who provided agreed upon gifts to make the
union official. Though bride and groom may not have chosen each
other, romantic love was valued in Egyptian culture, and it was
hoped that a couple would come to love one another as they lived
their lives together and raised children.
Egyptian, from the tomb of Raramu in the cemetery at Giza (Old
Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2323–2150 BCE) Raramu and Ankhet.
Limestone with paint, about 2400 BCE. Purchased with funds from
the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1949.4
This work is currently on view in the exhibition Frans
Hals Portraits: A Family Reunion.
Photo courtesy of the Toledo Art Museum.