Who Is Seated On His Lap? Sitting On a Man's Lap in The Ancient Egyptian Scenes And Statuary

Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Minia University, Egypt


According to the Oxford dictionary the lap is defined as the flat area between the waist and the knees of a seated individual and used to hold a child or anything else. In ancient Egypt the attitude of lap sitting expresses in particular from the earliest times the relation between two individuals; an adult woman and a child, the mother the seated individual and the child sitting on her lap. The divine model for this attitude relation is the mother goddess Isis in her image holding her son the child god Horus on her lap. Another distinguished relation was also expressed in the attitude of lap sitting that also gathers between two individuals but this time between an adult man the seated one and another individual sitting on his lap. This relation is the focus of the research that deals with the motif of sitting on the lap of a man in ancient Egypt. Through the descriptive and analytical methodology for all the scenes and statuary that depict the motif, the research will conclude certain points: the main classifications for the scenes and statuary depicting the motif of lap sitting according to the identity of the man, upon whose lap another individual is seated; the type of relation between the two individuals depicted in the motif; and the differences and characteristics of the depicted ways of sitting on a man's lap according to the type of relation between the two depicted individuals in the motif.