Egyptian art, 3 marvelous statues at the Egyptian Museum

Ancient Egyptian art

The Egyptian art includes a lot of paintings, statues, and reliefs, among them these 3 marvelous statues which belong to the art of the Old Kingdom.

Egypt art: The Panels of Hesy-Re


Art in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt art: the panels of Hsy-Re

Eleven wooden panels (Acacia wood) were found in niches of the west wall of an interior passage in the Mastaba of Hesire at Saqqara, North of Djoser’s step pyramid, excavated by Mariette.

Six of the eleven panels are displayed here at the Egyptian museum (3 in good condition and 3 are badly damaged). These eleven panels were placed inside eleven niches cut in the walls.

Art of ancient Egypt: The first panel

Art of ancient Egyptians
Egypt art: the first panel

It represents Hesy-Re as a scribe in an early stage of his life; he is represented wearing a straight wig hanging over his shoulders and a short pleated kilt.

We can notice that the ancient Egyptian artist used to represent each part of the body according to the way it was best viewed.

For example

The eyes were represented in frontal view, the face, mouth and nose in profile, while the torso was in frontal view, the legs in profile and the waist in 3/4 view (as a stage between the frontal view of the torso and the profile view of the legs).

We can also notice the beauty of the art in ancient Egypt; as his both feet were depicted in one direction. N.B. he is represented with a light mustache.

Egyptian art: the second panel

Art of ancient Egypt
Egyptian art: the second panel

Hesy-Re is represented with his left leg stepping forward, which was a traditional way for depicting males in ancient Egyptian art.

He is holding in left hand a staff, which was a sign of nobility and his scribal equipment, while in his right hand he is holding the “Kherep scepter”. Sign of authority and power.

He was represented as a normal scribe wearing a short curly hair wig, a short kilt plaited from one side with a dagger (sign of nobility) or a knot attached to his belt. He has his scribal equipment hanging down his shoulder.

This panel probably represents him in a similar stage of life as the precious one.

Egypt art: The third panel

Art of ancient Egypt
The third panel

HesyRe here is shown in an advanced stage of his life. The Egyptian artist succeeded in showing the beauty of Egyptian art in this scene. Hesy-Re is shown with all signs of old age like wrinkles around his mouth and seated on a low backed seat.

We can notice that he has prominent cheekbones, which show that he has lost a lot of his weight because of his old age.

His scribal equipment is hanging over his shoulder and in his other hand, he is holding the Kherep scepter, a sign of authority and a staff, a sign of nobility.

He is pointing his right hand towards an offering table, which is placed in front of him laden with loaves of bread represented vertically (which was an Egyptian artistic convention).

Ancient Egypt art: Rosetta stone

Art in ancient Egypt
The Rosetta stone

The Rosetta stone is a great slab of black basalt. It considered one of the masterpieces of the ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Its name comes from the name of the village where it was discovered, which is called Rasheed or Rosetta. The stone which displayed in the Egyptian Museum is not the original one.

It’s a replica sent by the British government to Egypt as the original one are displaying now in the British museum in London. It weighs about 760 KG.

It’s inscribed with a decree issued by ancient priests at Memphis at the first anniversary of the coronation of King Ptolemy V to affirm his royal cult. It mentioned also the good deeds done by the king for the Egyptian temples.

The stone contains a text recorded on it. The text divides into three registers containing three scripts of two languages, the ancient Egyptian language, and the Greek language.

The three scripts on the Rosetta stone are Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek.

Why was it written in three different scripts?

To make sure that the decree was understood by everybody in Egypt so it was written in Hieroglyphic and demotic, while Greek was the official language for documents during this era.

Deciphering the Hieroglyphs

Art of ancient Egyptians
Art in ancient Egypt: Rosetta stone

The Rosetta stone is considered as a valuable key to the decipherment of the principles of Hieroglyphic writing by the French scientist Jean Francois Champollion in 1822.

But attempts were previously made by the British scientist Thomas Young in 1822.

Champollion managed to decipher the Hieroglyphs by comparing the names of Ptolemy V which appeared in the cartouche (the cartouche is a circular shape symbolizing the everlasting eternity which contained the names of the pharaohs).

The name of king Ptolemy V appeared in the cartouche 6 times in Greek and the other two scripts. He made a comparison between the name of the king which wrote on the Greek register and the other registers.

By comparing he managed to make an alphabet of phonetic hieroglyphic characters. To make sure it was done correctly, he compared the outcome with the cartouche of Queen Cleopatra which found on an obelisk at Philae temple.

The obelisk contained bilingual inscriptions in Hieroglyphs and Greek and by observing the letters P, T, O, and l which are mutual in both names of the Ptolemy V and Cleopatra they ensured the correct translation. Champollion then created an alphabet to decipher the remaining text.

Ancient Egyptian art: statues of Amenhotep son of Habu

Egyptian art
The statue of Amenhotep son of Hapu

The two seated statues were found separately. They represent Amenhotep son of Hapu in two different stages of age.

First: Amenhotep son of hapu as a young man

The statue is made out of gray granite. It was discovered by Le Grain in 1913 at the foot of the staircase of the east (left) side if the 10th pylon at Karnak.

It was found together with two statues of the vizier Pa-Ramessu. It represents Amenhotep son of Hapu seated in a scribal attitude with his head gently inclined towards the unrolled papyrus on his lap.

He is represented as a young man wearing a long stepped curly hair wig, covering part of his ears. Folds of fat are shown on his torso (under his chest) to indicate his youth and well-being.

He is wearing a short kilt on which we can see an unrolled papyrus. He is holding the papyrus with one hand and with the other he is supposed to hold a feather to write with.

On his left shoulder, there is the scribal palette. It consists of two ink pots, one for red and the other for black. There is another scribal palette over his left Knee oval in shape.

Egypt art
Amenhotep son of Hapu as an old man
These 3 marvelous statues belong to the Egyptian art.