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` Statue.png
Name statue of a foo
Appearance statue of a foo
Base price 0 zm
Weight varies

A statue is a type of object that appears in NetHack. Statues are represented on screen by a bold white monster glyph or a grayscale monster tile. A statue always depicts some specific monster, e.g. "a statue of a kobold" (which would display on-screen as k).

Statues should not be confused with figurines, though they can both be animated with the stone to flesh spell.


Statues are usually found randomly in the main branch of the dungeon - some special levels always have statues, and statue traps can appear that animate the statue of any monster on its square and bring it to life; most trapped statues are of tangible monsters, though statues of unsolid monsters can also be generated as trapped. Random statue generation follows the same rules as monster creation - they must be of appropriate monster difficulty given your experience level and the dungeon level, and must not be genocided or extinct.

Statues on special levels will often be of specific monsters with no regard for difficulty level; however, if the level calls for a statue of a genocided or extinct species, it will be replaced with a random statue. The presence of multiple out-of-place statues on a given floor may be an indicator of bones, and are typically signs that the former player had a footrice corpse.

Most monsters that are not unsolid will turn into a statue when stoned. Stone golems leave empty statues of themselves behind when killed.

Statue contents

Statues generated as part of a normal dungeon level deeper than level 3 may randomly contain a single spellbook; this does not apply to statue traps or statues of tiny monsters.[1] This may be a reference to Larn, a game which also had spellbooks that could be found after breaking statues.

When a monster is turned to stone, usually by a cockatrice (or its corpse or egg), its inventory becomes the statue contents. Medusa's Island contains a number of statues that often have items inside, including the statue of Perseus; see that article for more details about its specific contents.

Statues on deeper dungeon levels have a greater probability of containing a spellbook:[1]

Level Probability
1–3 0
4, 5 112
6, 7 213
8, 9 314
n, n + 1 n − 2n + 20

By level 24, statues have a 50% chance of containing a spellbook.

Historic statues

Certain statues are historic, causing Archeologists to suffer a −1 penalty to alignment record when breaking or animating them. These include the statues of the gnome king in Grotto Town, the centaur statues around the main room of the Oracle level, the statue of Perseus, and any petrified unique monsters. Archeologists can tell whether a statue is historic on sight - for other roles, the property is hidden and irrelevant.

Statue traps

Statue traps are indistinguishable from regular statues normally - however, if you search next to one (including the automatic searching intrinsic) or move onto its square, it will turn into the appropriate type of monster.


The weight of a given statue is 1.5 times the weight of its corpse in monster form, plus the weight of any contents. Statues will fit into containers only if the portrayed monster is tiny, small or medium size - the actual weight of the statue does not factor into this.

When a statue is hit by a force bolt, wand of striking or a digging tool, they are broken into 6 + d60 rocks, similar to boulders; other weapons and wands have no effect, and applying an axe additionally produces a message, with a 23 chance of dealing d2 damage to you.[2] Breaking a statue allows its contents to be retrieved.

Using the stone to flesh spell on a statue of a fleshy monster will turn it into that monster; the statue's contents become part of that monster's inventory, which you can obtain by killing them. Casting stone to flesh on a statue of any golem will animate it as a flesh golem; statues of other monsters that are not fleshy (such as lichens) or do not leave a corpse (such as yellow lights) will instead turn into meatballs, destroying their contents.[3][4]

Statues can be polymorphed into other kinds of statues or into boulders, but any contents will be destroyed unconditionally.[5][6][7]

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

As of commit dbd39f2, weightless statues are no longer possible - statues now have a minimum possible weight based on the size of the monster it depicts. For example, the weight of killer bee and leprechaun statues are 100 aum, yellow light statues are 300 aum, wraith statues are 500 aum, and air elemental statues are 900 aum.


Spellcasters may find it useful to break every statue located deeper than level 3; this especially applies to Wizards, who always start knowing the force bolt spell. You can use a wand of probing to scan for the presence of items beforehand; for Healers, the stethoscope also gives different messages depending on whether the statue is a trap or has items inside.

The Oracle level always contains 8 centaur statues, and the table below details the odds of finding a certain amount of books within those statues:

Level Chance of n books (%)
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
5 49.9 36.3 11.5 2.1 0.2
6–7 26.3 38.2 24.3 8.8 2.0 0.3
8–9 14.5 31.7 30.3 16.6 5.6 1.2 0.2


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, including some variants based on these versions, statues were represented by the backtick glyph, `, with the tile displaying an amorphous clay blob. Casting stone to flesh on golem statues followed the same rules as other non-fleshy monsters, usually leaving behind a single meatball rather than always becoming a flesh golem.


The <monster> appears to be in fine health for a statue.
You applied a stethoscope to a statue.
The <monster> appears to be in remarkable health for a statue.
As above, but you are a Healer and the statue contains items.[8]
The <monster> appears to be in extraordinary health for a statue.
As above, but you are a Healer and the statue is on a statue trap.[9]
You hear a voice say, "You're both stoned, Jim."
You applied a stethoscope to a statue while hallucinating.[10]
Sparks fly as you whack the statue.
You attempted to apply an axe to a statue.
The axe-handle vibrates violently!
You took some damage from the above attempt.

Encyclopedia entry

Then at last he began to wonder why the lion was standing so
still - for it hadn't moved one inch since he first set eyes
on it. Edmund now ventured a little nearer, still keeping in
the shadow of the arch as much as he could. He now saw from
the way the lion was standing that it couldn't have been
looking at him at all. ("But supposing it turns its head?"
thought Edmund.) In fact it was staring at something else -
namely a little dwarf who stood with his back to it about
four feet away. "Aha!" thought Edmund. "When it springs at
the dwarf then will be my chance to escape." But still the
lion never moved, nor did the dwarf. And now at last Edmund
remembered what the others had said about the White Witch
turning people into stone. Perhaps this was only a stone
lion. And as soon as he had thought of that he noticed that
the lion's back and the top of its head were covered with
snow. Of course it must be only a statue!

[ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ]