Egypt art, the statue king of Khafre

Ancient Egypt art

This statue represents a great fact about Egypt art and its beauty.

The statue of Khafre (Chephren)

Who was Khafre?

He was the 3rd king of the fourth dynasty, son of Khufu. He ruled Egypt for 25 years.

He is the owner of the 2nd pyramid at Giza plateau together with a complex attached to it, which consists of a valley temple located at the eastern side of the pyramid, a mortuary temple, and a causeway. He is also the builder of the great sphinx.

In the valley temple we found some statues belonging to him, probably they were 23 statues referring to the number of the human organs without repeating the organ that had two pairs of the eyes.

The human organs were 26 in number. These statues were used in the ritual of the opening of the mouth, but we found only 6 statues and they are exhibited in the Egyptian museum.

They are made of different kinds of stone e.g. granite, alabaster and limestone.

The description of the statue

Ancient Egyptian art
Egypt art, the statue of king Khafre

This statue is made out of diorite, which was brought from quarries at Nubia especially Abu Simbel. It was discovered by Mariette’s workmen in 1860, inside a pit in the valley temple of Khafre.

The original location of this statue was probably the colonnaded hall where we could see rectangular spaces on the ground, probably for placing these statues.

The king is represented sitting on a high back pillared throne. He is represented in life-size measurements.

He is represented by all signs of royalty, which consider the main characteristics of the Egyptian art. These characteristics are:

The nemes headdress, the cobra attached to the forehead for his protection, the royal kilt, and the false royal beard. The facial features are very well represented, the full face with high cheekbones, wide nose and mouth.

His eyes are represented looking forward to the horizon over the level of all human beings, which is considered as a sign of divinity.

He has a strong wide chest, the muscles and veins of the arms and legs are very well represented as well as the toes of the king this confirmed the skill of the sculptor, as diorite was a very hard stone to carve.

He is shown putting his two hands on his thigh, the right hands is closed holding a folded piece of material to show his muscles as a sign of power, while the left hand is represented with open palm which is a sign of power, while the left hand is represented with open palm which is a sign of mercy so the king combines both power and mercy.

The throne above which the king is seated is flanked from both sides with a head of a lion as well as the two frontal legs of the lion placed on top of drums to ensure the balance of the statue.

Art of ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt art, The 2 lions on both sides

On both sides of the throne, we have a representation for the Sma-tawy which is the sign of unification of upper and lower Egypt.

The Sma-Tawy sign is represented by the lotus and the papyrus which are knotted around the trachea and the lungs of the king, which means that all the people of Egypt get their breath of air from the lungs of the king.

Egyptian art
Th Sma-Tawy, the symbol of unification

If we look from the front, we can only see the seated king, but if we turn around the statue and take a back view, we can observe a representation of the falcon god Horus attached to the head of the king.

The falcon is represented smaller than the king because of the idea of the divinity of the kind during that time but it changed during later periods especially the new kingdom.

Concerning the position of the falcon we have different opinions:

1- To support the neck because it was the weakest part of the body.

2- To show that the falcon Horus protect the king by surrounding his neck by his wings.

3- The whole statue represents the triad consisting of Osiris, Isis, and their son Horus.

Since every king after his death is considered as Osiris, so Chephren here is representing Osiris, the throne is representing Isis, as it is considered the emblem of Isis and Horus is represented at the back.

4- Since the king was considered the living picture of the god on earth, so he is representing god Horus on earth and the falcon is representing god Horus of heaven.

Ancient Egyptian art
The falcon Horus behind the head of the king
Egypt art includes a lot of statues and masterpieces among them, this wonderful one.