Ancient Egyptian art, 2 statues of Old Kingdom art

Art of ancient Egyptians

We are going to discuss here 2 magnificent statues belong to ancient Egyptian art, which dates back to the Old kingdom.

Egypt art: The double statue of Sennefer and Senay

Ancient Egyptian art
The double statue of Sennefer and Senay

The statue is made out of gray granite which is quarried from Aswan. It was found to the north of the great hypostyle hall of Karnak temple by the Egyptian antiquities service in 1903.

Sennefer and his wife Senay are seated on a high back chair and their arms are interlaced. He is wearing a short curly hair wig held behind his ears, which was a prominent item of ancient Egypt art.

His features show a serene expression. He is represented with his massive gold collar and the heart-shaped amulets. The folds of fat shown on his torso indicate his prosperity and well-being.

He is wearing a long narrow kilt tied with a knot under his belly. His right arm lies on his knee and his other arm is behind his wife. On his right shoulder, we can see the names of Amenhotep II.

Senay is represented wearing a long curly tripartite wig covering her ears, a broad collar and a long tight narrow dress held with shoulder straps.

She has a light smile upon her face and her left hand is resting on her knee. One of their daughters “Mut-Nofret” stands on a small base between their legs. She is wearing a long wig terminating with curly tresses.

On the right side of the statue, there is a representation of the daughter “Mut-Nofret” in front of an offering table, sniffing a lotus flower as a sign of rebirth. On the left side, the same scene is repeated but with another daughter”Nefertati” instead of “Mut-Nofret”. The two scenes are accompanied by offering formulae.

This statue is one of the very few pieces to be signed by the sculptor in the ancient Egyptian art.

The artists or sculptors “Amenmes & Djed Khonso” have placed their names in the vertical inscription on the left side of the seat.

On their clothes (father, mother, and daughter) there is a line of inscriptions which is an offering formula asking for millions of (bread, beer, oxen, fowl and every good and pure thing) to their souls.

Art of ancient Egypt: The false door of Ika

Art in ancient Egypt
The false door of Ika

What is a false door?

False doors are a very famous type of art in ancient Egypt. They are made out of stone or wooden funerary architectural elements carved inside tombs and mortuary temples to mark the place where the funerary offerings were usually placed.

The false door is always situated on the west wall and its function was:

(1) To allow the deceased a link between the living and the dead so that the deceased could receive sustenance from the land of the living.

(2) To mark the place of the offerings.

(3) To enable the Ba (soul) to enter the tomb to enjoy the offerings.

It is originally an imitation doorway and it first appeared during the old kingdom. The false door is considered a type of funerary stela.

Their main function was to mark the place of offerings and to serve as a link between the dead and the living.

Ancient Egypt art: description of the false door

Egyptian art
Egypt art: the false door of Ika

It is made out of “ACACIA wood” this is an important reason for considering this false door a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian art due to the fact that wood was a very difficult material to carve on.

It was discovered by the *Egyptian Antiquities Service Excavations* in 1939 at Saqqara. The height is 200 cm and width 150 cm.

Looking to the left side, Ika is portrayed with one of his children, called Abedu, as written next to his figure. Ika is shown represented in a very large scale with his left leg stepping forward, which is a traditional male attitude.

Art of ancient Egyptians
The left side of the false door

He is wearing a short kilt with a pleated flap and has a wig reaching to his shoulders.

He is wearing a wide collar and holding the Kherep scepter in his right hand and a long staff reaching the ground in his left hand and his son is holding it with him as a sign that Ika wishes that his son would carry on his job after him. His son is represented in a smaller scale.

To the right: we can see his wife lymerit, meaning “the beloved one”, who was a priestess of Hathor.

Egypt art
The right side of the door

She is represented standing wearing a long tight fitting dress with broad straps that leave her breasts exposed, which was the fashion at this time.

Her right hand is raised towards Ika holding a blue lotus flower, which she is sniffing as a sign of rebirth and resurrection. This representation was very common in Egyptian art.

In front of her, there is a representation of her daughter Thenet, who is represented on a smaller scale. Thentet is wearing a tight dress in the same attitude of her mother. Above imyrt we can see some of her titles.

The panel

Ancient Egypt art
Ancient Egyptian art: the panel

We have representation of Ika and his wife lymerit seated in front of an offering table over which we can see loaves of bread represented vertically the deceased and his wife are represented in profile while the shoulder in frontal view following traditions of ancient Egyptian reliefs.

This false door is made out of (14) pieces of wood tied together with wooden pegs and lashed with strings of leather. All the scenes are executed in sunken relief.

Very important note

In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the human body consisted of 7 main parts. All these elements were extremely important for the resurrection and the rebirth of the deceased, thus have to make sure they were safe from any danger. They are:

1) The Ka: this represents the double and it was believed to be fashioned by god Khnum at his pitter’s wheel at the time of the birth.

(2) The Ba: it’s the soul and represented in the form of a human-headed bird.

It was believed to leave the body at the time of death and reside with the souls of the righteous but it would come frequently and visit the body of its owner.

3) The Rn: the name.

These 2 statues of Old kingdom represent a clear and beautiful image about ancient Egyptian art.