Saturday, January 7, 2017

12th Dynasty Statue of Sehetepibreankh

Figure 1 - Sehetepibreankh, Met Museum
     Each major period of Egyptian history has distinctive features in its art work. In the statues of the nobility the clothes they wear are very different from period to period.

Figure 2 - Folded Cloth in the Right Hand
     The statue shown here shows a typical representation of a Middle Kingdom nobleman. In figure 1 we can see a statue of Sehetepibreankh (Sehetepibre is one of the names of the Pharaoh Amenemhat I, during whose reign this nobleman began his career, so his name means Amenemhat Lives). There are some details of the statue which are a holdover from the Old Kingdom. For instance, Sehetepibreankh holds in his right hand a folded cloth (figure 2) which is commonly shown in statues from the Old Kingdom (and would be shown in the statuary of the New Kingdom as well). The legs of the statue are also carved in a way that reminds me of Old Kingdom sculpture.
Figure 3 - Showing a common Middle Kingdom Wig
Figure 4 - Notice the Hair at the Bottom of the Wig's Lapets
     But the wig worn by this nobleman is quite different from that worn in the Old Kingdom. Note how the lapets slant down to a point (figure 3). This is common in the statuary of Dynasties Twelve and Thirteen. Also, look at the lapels closely in figure 4. I am not quite sure what is being represented here. It might be that a cloth is covering the actual wig (notice how the hair seems to stick out below the "cloth" at the bottom of the wig's lapets and on the owner's forehead). Or is the hair arranged differently at the bottom of the lapets than it is in the rest of the wig and there is no cloth being shown over the wig at all?

Copyright (c) 2017 by John Freed

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