Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

A group of colossal statues of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), originally from the Temple of the Aten at Karnak, are on display in the Egyptian Museum. These statues may represent the first time that Akhenaten’s new religious thoughts were translated into art and architecture. Here we see the king standing, wearing a kilt that hangs below his swollen stomach. It is tied with a belt, decorated with the royal cartouche.

Akhenaten wears the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt or the Pschent, as well as the Khat-headdress. In his hands he holds symbols of power and authority. His features are presented in the typical style of the period, with narrow slanting eyes, a long thin face, and thick lips.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 49529

Ka Statue of King Hor

Ka Statue of King Hor

This statue was excavated in 1894 in the tomb of king Hor that was found by a team of excavators under the direction of Jacques de Morgan. The tomb is located north of the pyramid complex of Amenemhat III at Dahshur.

The wooden structure is a magnificent, well-preserved masterpiece. It depicts the Ka statue of King Hor I (Au-ib-Re), which is clearly marked by the Ka hieroglyphic sign as two upraised arms topping the head. The Ka, or guardian spirit, had to survive in the statue to keep its owner alive.

The statue, found within its accompanying naos, or shrine, was covered with a fine layer of painted stucco. The king is sculpted wearing a three-part long wig, leaving the ears exposed. He wears a long, curved divine beard.

It is noteworthy that the sculptor successfully modeled the inlaid eyes to lend a lifelike appearance to this expressive face. The eyes are inlaid with rock crystal and quartz. It seems that the Ka statue once held a scepter in its right hand and a staff in its left hand. The statue of the king was fixed to a wooden panel that could be taken out of the naos.

Middle Kingdom, 13th Dynasty, ca. 1777-1775 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 30948

Seated Statue of King KhafraThe king has his c…

Seated Statue of King Khafra

The king has his chest and shoulders embodying strength in repose sits on a simple block, both hands lie on his lap, the left is open palm downwards while the right is fisted thumb up around a folded piece of cloth.

Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, ca. 2613-2494 BC.

Alabaster, from Memphis.

Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 28577

Sphinx of Amenemhat III

Sphinx of Amenemhat III

Seven sphinxes of Amenemhat III were found in Tanis in the eastern Delta. They were thus called the Tanite sphinxes. They evoke the superhuman power of the king and emphasize his fearful appearance.

The vigorous face of the king is characterized by his prominent cheekbones, protuberant mouth and deeply furrowed cheeks, which create an effect of strength. Instead of the traditional Nemes headdress, his face is framed by a massive lion’s mane that increases the sense of his majesty.

The statues rest on a tall and solid base decorated with cartouches of several sovereigns such as the Hyksos king Nehsey, Ramesses II, Merneptah and Psusennes I, who all, over the centuries, usurped the group of sphinxes, fascinated by their idea. Egyptologists had mistakenly called them “the Hyksos sphinxes” because of their strange visage and the different names of the usurpers containing a Hyksos ruler too.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III, ca. 1860-1814 BC. Grey granite, from Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 15210; CG 394

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