Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Nimrud Ivories (Cont.)

Ivory Sphinx from Nimrud
     The Nimrud ivories commonly show sphinxes that look Egyptian at first glance, but when you take a close look at the sphinx, it becomes clear that the artist was not Egyptian.

     For instance, look at the photo to the left. On the surface it looks like a fairly normal Egyptian ram-headed sphinx, but there are a number of details that show us that the artist was non-Egyptian. For instance, look at the floral decoration on this panel, and particularly look at the tree to the right of the sphinx. Also notice the ram's headdress; it is not a "nemes", although the artist seems to have tried to make it look like one. Also note that the sphinx does not have an "Egyptian" eye. One last incorrect detail is the "double crown" on the sphinx's head. An Egyptian artist would not have represented the crown in this way.

     Having said all that, this is a beautiful work of art, but it is clearly not Egyptian art.

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