DETAIL IN FOCUS
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The pharaoh depicted here has been identified as Thutmose III, one of the most important rulers in the history of Ancient Egypt. His father, Thutmose II, died when he was still a child and his aunt and step-mother, Queen Hatshepsut, assumed power and ruled in his name for the next twenty years. Only after her death was Thutmose III able to ascend the throne. Unlike Hatshepsut, Thutmose III was bent on enlarging the empire. He was one of Egypt’s most successful generals and fought a total of seventeen campaigns, extending Egyptian influence as far as Syria. He even reached the Euphrates, and conquered large tracts of Nubia. This idealized, smiling portrait of Thutmose III suggests the very opposite of a warrior-king. The ruler wears the royal Nemes-headdress and the Uraeus on his forehead. The pharaoh’s regalia also included a false beard attached with ribbons to his chin.As only the upper part of the statue has come down to us, its original pose or posture remain unclear: the pharaoh could have been depicted enthroned, standing or kneeling. The king has moved his upper arms slightly forward, suggesting that his now-lost lower arms were once extended. Only the beginning of a column of inscriptions has survived on the back pillar. It comprises the beginning of the royal titulary with the so-called Horus-name. This is one of the five elements of the royal titulary; it always includes a depiction of the divine falcon. The Horus-name expresses the special relationship that existed between the falcon-god, Horus - regarded as the protector of kingship - and the pharaoh.
author: Regina Hölzl