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

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.

The weight of the statue varies, depending on which monster it is a statue of: it is 1.5 times the corpse weight, plus the weight of any contents.

Statues will fit into containers only if the portrayed monster is tiny, small or medium size; the weight of the statue does not factor into fitting inside a container.

When broken, like boulders, they turn into 6 + d60 rocks.


Statues may be found randomly in normal dungeon levels; some special levels always have statues. Random statue generation follows the same rules as monster generation - they must be of appropriate difficulty given your experience level and the dungeon level, and must not be genocided or extinct. Statues on special levels can be of a higher difficulty level than would randomly appear, but if the level calls for a statue of a genocided or extinct species, it will instead be replaced with a random statue.

Most fleshy monsters will turn into a statue when stoned; non-fleshy monsters will usually be turned into a pile of rocks.

Insubstantial monsters such as air elementals cannot leave statues; while it is possible to polypile[1][2] or wish for a statue of such a monster, this is mostly pointless as it will be empty and will not turn into a monster upon casting stone to flesh. A statue trap may still turn it into a monster, however.

Stone golems leave statues of themselves behind when killed.

Statue contents

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, often with contents. The statue of Perseus has specific contents; see that article for more detail.

On normal dungeon levels deeper than level 3, a statue may randomly contain one spellbook.[3] This does not apply to statue traps. Spellbooks in statues may be a reference to Larn, a game which also had spellbooks that could be found after breaking statues.

Statues of tiny monsters never contain a spellbook.[4]

Statues on deeper dungeon levels have a greater probability of containing a spellbook:[3]

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.

The Oracle level always contains 8 centaur statues, making it an excellent place to hunt for books:

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

Spellcasters may find it useful to break every statue located deeper than level 3; this especially applies to Wizards as their starting spell of force bolt allows them to easily break them.

Accessing the contents

The contents of the statue can be retrieved by either smashing it apart, or by using a stone to flesh spell to convert it to a living being; the contents will become the monster's inventory, which you can obtain by killing them. Statues can be broken by the usual methods, including force bolt, wand of striking, pick-axe, and so on. Monsters which are not made of meat (such as lichens)[5] or do not leave a corpse (such as yellow lights)[6] will instead turn into meatballs, destroying their contents; casting stone to flesh on a statue of any golem will animate it as a flesh golem.

Statues can be polymorphed into other kinds of statues or into boulders, but any contents will be destroyed unconditionally.[7] You can use a wand of probing to scan for useful items beforehand.


Sparks fly as you whack the <statue/boulder>.
The axe-handle vibrates violently!
You attempted to apply an axe to a statue or boulder. The second message has a 23 chance of occurring.[8]

Statue traps

Statue traps are indistinguishable from regular statues unless you have the searching intrinsic or apply a stethoscope to one, and will turn into the appropriate type of monster when you try to move into their square or disturb them in any other way.

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 Oracle, 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).


In NetHack 3.4.3 and earlier versions, statues were represented by the ` glyph or an amorphous clay blob. Golem statues affected by stone to flesh followed the same rules as other non-fleshy monsters, usually leaving behind a single meatball rather than always becoming a flesh golem.

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 ]


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