This essay is an examination of Udjahorresnet’s Persian identity. Best known from the inscription on his naophorous statue now in the Vatican, Udjahorresnet was a high-ranking courtier in Egypt under the Saite pharaohs Amasis and Psamtik III, and subsequently under the Persian kings Cambyses and Darius. While his statue’s form, function and inscription make it clear that he was an Egyptian, certain representational features of the statue indicate that he had a Persian identity as well. These features include the statue’s garment, which evokes the Persian “court robe” depicted at Persepolis and elsewhere, and the lion-headed bracelets on his wrists, which are examples of a well-known class of Achaemenid jewelry. The court robe, which derives from Elamite tradition, is a key visual marker of the idealized “Persian man,” a central aspect of Achaemenid royal ideology, and the lion bracelet, which draws on various material culture traditions from Iran, is a symbol of imperial unity. Udjahorresnet’s decision to include these features on his statue thus suggests that he constructed a Persian identity for himself.
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