MISTY SMITH:ANCIENT EGYPTIAN SCULPTURE

            In Ancient Egyptian history the art of sculpture is seen over and over again in many different uses. We see sculpture worked into the architecture of temples and tombs with gods, men and women carved into the front of columns as if they are helping to hold the column or structure up. Sculptures of Ancient Egyptian time ranges in size from the largest monolith statue in the world, the Great Sphinx of Giza, to smaller statues of gods that filled tombs to protect the dead. We see sculptures of large figures, either gods or mythical creatures used to guard the entrances to temples and wall reliefs in temples and tombs that tell stories of events of their time. The Kings of Ancient Egypt documented their reigns with statues and busts of themselves which are commonly found in their burial tomb. We see this in Upper part of a Statue of King Thutmose III while we are not told where it was used we know that is was part of a column which is inscribed with the royal titulary that a portion has been destroyed over time. With this sculpture of King Thutmose III being attached to a column it further supports the Ancient Egyptian style of statues facing straight ahead as if to only be viewed from the front. This statue does break up the trend of Kings and those of importance being seen as stern and serious because King Thutmose III is depicted as smiling here. Kings and people of importance were able to have their sculptures created by the most talented artists of the time. The attention to detail and quality of the materials used is always a sign of wealth or importance. When viewing the Seated Statue of Nehy we can tell she was a woman of wealth and importance not only because she has a statue created of her for a tomb but because of her hairstyle and the manner in which she is dressed. The Statue of Chai-hapi is another example of elaborate and fine craftsmanship being used in a statue of someone of importance as he was a priest and high ranking courtier in the second half of the 19th dynasty. The Statue of Chai-hapi also illustrates the importance of the gods in the Ancient Egyptian times as he is shown holding a large Djed of a sistrum of Hathor’s head which is used in celebrations to honor the goddess. Horus was the ancient Egyptians’ national patron god and was portrayed in many pieces of art throughout the years including Horus Falcon Wearing Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt with Uraeus. This lost-wax cast contains many bones sealed inside and was once decorated very ornately with different colors, elaborate feathers of incised lines and gold foil around it’s eyes. The maker must have felt by making this statue so ornately he was pleasing the god Horus. Sadly, not all Ancient Egyptian sculptures have survived throughout the years. With the Head of a God we are only left with a head of what was once a life-sized statue of the deity. From what we can tell it follows traditional Egyptian style of being straight, stiff and serious but without the rest of the statue we will never know. The Ancient Egyptians took pride in their artwork especially their statues. Each statue had its own purpose while following the Ancient Egyptian style. 

As one of the most important rulers in ancient Egypt King Thutmose III would have had many pieces of art made in his image like Upper part of a Statue of King Thutmose III. As a ruler he is known as a successful general fighting in seventeen battles and extending Egyptian’s influence into Syria. This statue is not what we would expect of King Thutmose III based on his leadership in war because he is depicted smiling instead of being serious like most war heroes were at the time. While historians have identified this statue as Thutmose III, we can tell he is a king based on his attire. The pharaoh’s regalia included the royal Nemes-headress with the Uraeus on his head and the false long beard with ribbons to his chin which are all displayed here. Unfortunately, we only have the top half of the statue left today so his exact body stance is unknown. His arms are positioned slightly forward as if he may have been holding something or just had his arms in front of him verses by his side. We can tell that the artist did not want to have any voids in the statue since the arm is connected to the body as to look like there is a background behind him. On the back pillar there is some text that has survived describing the beginning of the royal titulary. The Horus-name is mentioned as well because it shows King Thutmose III had a strong relationship with the falcon god Horus. Art Historians date this piece as being created between 1504 and 1452 BC during the New Kingdom’s 18th Dynasty in Egypt. The sculpture is created out of granodiorite which is similar to granite but has more plagioclase feldspar in its makeup. Currently the statue is part of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in Vienna which holds artwork from seven millennia.
The Seated Statue of Nehy was created in Saqqara Egypt during the New Kingdom between 1250 and 1230 BC. Carved into limestone this statue shows Nehy a woman who was of some wealth or importance to be able to have this statue of herself made for the afterlife. She appears seated on a chair holding a sistrum in her left hand which was used in the worship of the goddess Hathor. Nehy is shown dressed in nice clothes with a fancy hairstyle which implies she must have been wealthy before her death. The statue itself is fairly large at 45.1cm x 132cm x 87.8cm and the quality shows it was created by someone very skilled. On the front of her skirt there is an inscription which reads “Everything which goes forth before the lords of the necropolis: bread, beer, oxen and fowl, wine, incense, libation-water and all good and pure things for the Ka of the Osiris, the Mistress of the House, the Chantress of the Mistress of Heaven, She of the Southern Sycamore (Hathor), Nehy, True of Voice.” This statue was at a tomb in Saqqara which is the ancient necropolis of Memphis and is one of two known statues like it. The statues may have marked the entrance to her tomb at one point in time and may have been part of a set with her family. Statues were thought to give the deceased a form for all eternity so even after death people could still communicate with them and bring them food and such. Statues and other objects placed in the tombs were thought to aid the person in their afterlife. Because she was a woman of wealth she may have been buried with jewelry and other valuable objects which may have been looted over the years. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland currently owns this statue as part of its collection which includes pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th century Europe.
Chai-hapi was a priest and high-ranking courtier in the second half of the 19th dynasty, New Kingdom, Egypt. He also served as a person of importance at the House of Ra which is the sanctuary at Heliopolis and home to the ancient temple to the sun god. Chai-hapi served as a privy councilor, manager and temple scribe at Heliopolis. In Statue of Chai-hapi he is shown crouching on a pillow while wearing a wig with small curls to his shoulders and sandals with a long kilt. Chai-hapi is holding a Djed (symbol of permanence) in his right hand while having his arms resting crossed over his knees. The Djed he is holding is a sistrum of Hathor’s head which was used in celebrations to honor the goddess. The sistrum is very prominent in the statue with its size and position in the middle of the piece which helps illustrate how important celebrating their gods were to the people of Ancient Egypt. The Statue of Chai-hapi features several inscriptions in different locations, like on the back pillar where the offering formulae and the titles and names of the sitter are shown. Inscriptions are also found on his shoulders, upper arms and sides. The statue is sculpted out of gneiss, which is formed from the metamorphosis of granite, around 1250 to 1200 BC. It is also a part of the collection at Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien along with other Ancient Egyptian pieces some of which I have listed. It is thought to originally created for the House of Ra since he was of such importance there but was discovered around 1800 in Austria. Because the Romans blended their religious beliefs with the Ancient Egyptian religion, finding the statue in Austria may have been a result of that blending and the statue used in a sanctuary there.
The Head of a God is one of many pieces of art from ancient times we will never be able to admire as it was originally made. What was once an almost life-sized statue of god is now reduced to only the head which is damaged itself. It was part of a series that showed deities both male and female that ruled over 42 districts that Egypt was divided into in ancient times. We are able to tell he is a god and not a king because while he is wearing a plaited beard and striated wig he was lacking the sacred cobra on the forehead which is a sign of an Ancient Egyptian king. Sculptures in the Middle Kingdom portrayed gods to have idealized features like the large ears featured on the Head of a God. The Egyptians would show the gods to be larger in scale in reliefs and paintings as well to show their importance. We can assume if the rest of the statue followed Ancient Egyptian style the god would have been standing straight and stiff, possibly against a column so that there were no voids in between the extremities. He would have been clothed because nudity was a sign of childhood which as a god he would not be a child. The statue as a whole is thought to be part of Pharaoh Amenemhet III’s pyramid complex at Hawara because of the white limestone and carving style used. As with other statues in Ancient Egypt the higher the quality of stone and craftsmanship the more important the person the statue is resembling or for. It is thought it was created during the late 12th Dynasty between 1850 and 1800 BC. This piece is currently a part of the collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio.
Horus Falcon Wearing Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt with Uraeus was created during the 26th Dynasty, mid 7th century BC to the late 6th century BC. Made using a cast with the lost-wax process the sculpture is made of leaded bronze with an embellishment around the eye of a gold-alloy inlay. The sculpture has a dark green, brown, black and red with some blue under the base patina letting us know it was once more colorful than it is now. As a lost-wax cast there may have been hundreds of these sculptures of Horus that we just have not found. The sculpture was created by first casting the base and legs and then the rest of the body so the bottom section was inserted into the top section to create the whole. Because we can see no indication that the pieces were glued or soldered together we assume the fit is very tight. X-rays have shown different bones on the inside of the sculpture, they were placed there by a small opening at the bottom of the tail and then patched over. The sculpture is also filled with a light colored material as a core material that can be seen in a hole in the headdress. There appears to be core pin holes in the left side of the headdress and wings, although you cannot tell at the wings by the outside. Also in the headdress there is a spot on the right side that is corroded red on the outside and showing a dark mass in x-rays of the inside. There is also extra metal in the head area due to a flash line that caused a crack throughout the sculpture. Details of the sculpture include feathers which are created by incised lines and the gold foil at the eyes which is decorated by punch marks. This sculpture is currently acquired by the Harvard Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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