Statue of Mentuhotep
Statue of Mentuhotep
Middle Kingdom
Balboa Park Museum of Man #14932
Photo ©Joan Ann Lansberry, 2016

The corner of an info card (in the top right of this photo) teased with a word "Menth...". Perhaps this piece referred to Mentuhotep. I found an article "Stumbling Upon Mentuhotep, Overseer of the Granaries" by KMJohnston that revealed the rest. Johnston gave link to “The Cemeteries of Abydos: Work of the Season 1925-26” (Egyptian Exploration Society) by H. Frankfort, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (Nov., 1928). I was curious enough, so I paid the ten bucks to see the article to which Johnston referred.

This statue and several stelae were found lying in the drifted sand or taken for paving stones in later tombs. Frankfort deems that statue and this related stela, also at the the San Diego museum, to be from the Middle Kingdom.

Both the statue and the stela refer to a man named Mentuhotep. Their inscriptions are very similar. Combining the Frankfort and Johnston translations, we have for the stela:

"An offering which the king gives, a thousand of bread and beer, of cattle and fowl, to the Ka of the Overseer of the Granary, Mentuhotep, born of Wia (Uya)(triumphant?)". The statue doesn't speak of his parent, but expands his job title to "the Overseer of the Granary of the God’s Offerings".

Frankfort says of the statue:
"Though the figure is a rough piece of work its importance is nevertheless obvious. The inscription is that of an ordinary funerary statuette, but the fact that it is inscribed on the body instead of on back-pillar or base, and the general shape, hint already at the later shabti-figures, and thus it would be valuable if its place within the Middle Kingdom could be fixed with somewhat greater precision; but this seems hard to do. The general impression one gets from the style of the figure on the stela as well as the considerable height of the relief seems to connect with the Old Kingdom; a similar stela in Cairo (20014) contains the name Khentikhetihotpe, which points perhaps with somewhat more decisiveness to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom than the names on our objects; and I would be inclined to put these provisionally in the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. The attire of the figure, whose left arm is advanced while the right arm is cleverly suggested underneath the cloth by the modelling, seems not to be considered an attire of the living by Bonnet, and indeed it resembles the mummy-shroud rather than the long mantle worn by old men in the Middle Kingdom, which leaves the arms or even a shoulder free." (page 240)

The Met museum has a Middle Kingdom statue of a standing man in a shroud, and while the position of his left hand is the same to the San Diego statue, the Met museum's figure has his feet ready to run, and he lacks writing on the front:

Left figure: Statuette of a Cloaked Man
Mid-Dynasty 12 (ca.1850 B.C.) or later
Fine-grained limestone
Gift of J. Lionberger Davis, 1966 (Met Museum #66.123.1)

Right figure: Standing Male Figure in a Calf-Long Kilt
Mid-Dynasty 12 (ca. 1919-1878 B.C.)
Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.228.180)

Wikipedia has a photo of a early shabti shaped like a naked, standing man, in wax, from the 11th dynasty (circa 2050 BCE), Middle Kingdom, at the Munich, Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, ÄS 6085. This wax figure has very little in common with the more familiar New Kingdom era shabtis. So we can see the Middle Kingdom San Diego statue of Mentuhotep is definitely a prototype for that more familiar shape.