Statues are used to signify special meanings to the society. A statue fits in given society depending on their intended purposes. Moreover, statues are used to record historical, cultural events in numerous communities for future generations’ viewing. Furthermore, statues are made to stand in a particular manner conveying special messages to community members. Moreover, statues are used to help identify the people that have played historical roles in a community achieving distinguished milestones across their lives. Ideal examples of people be fitted with statues were kings in various dynasties. Moreover, statues were given special shapes to signify distinctive meaning (Gay, 2001, p 67). Additionally, special scribal were written on the statues depending on the cultural context of the monument. In the Egyptian history, statues were widely used to record various cultural and historical events. Moreover, the statues were used to signify people that were highly regarded in society. Kings were amongst the people that were given special recognition through the art of cutting statues that were placed in public spaces. Casing examples is the Amunhotep son of Hapu at Medinet Habu and the statues of the old kingdom (Emily, 1995, p 235). The highlighted statues were used in the ancient Egypt to signify special meaning to the community. Moreover, the statues contained special messages paying reference to the cultural context and functional placement. In this article, a critical focus on the role and structural features of the two highlighted statues shall be accorded. The study shall help us to understand their setting and aimed roles in their cultural context.
The old kingdom statuary in the ancient Egypt is an epitome of the significant role held by statues in the ancient times. The cultural setting involved placement of the statues signifying gods, the rulers, and human beings. The statues of gods were used to represent the people’s spirituality. As a result, special reference was paid to the statues including protection from the external forces believed to cause harm to them. The statues were considered to extremely powerful hence the people in charge ensured they were shielded from any external interference. Moreover, they ensured the statues were kept in a secluded place whereby only a few people could access easily. Moreover, special permission would be required to access the special areas that were considered as shrines in the society. Similarly, statues that were signifying king were held with special reference and as a result given special treatment to sustain their existence. The statues received special treatment from the priests in the social using special anointments to protect them. The daily treatment comparable to cultural rituals made the events resemble cultic practices. The statue-cult temple located at snefru housed the kings’ statues in the society.
In the temple at snefru, six chapels were constructed and occupied by the royal statues. The chapels were constructed against rear walls. The statues were made to stand on either stone casting or wood cuttings. The special chapels measuring 10.5 meters in depth were used to house the royal statues. Moreover, they had narrow and extended shapes that indicated they held boats used to hold images drawn from the royal lineage. However, private statues imitating the royal shrines in the ancient periods were constructed by individuals. Similarly, in the valley hall of Khafle a T-shaped floor laid out twenty tree kings were laid out resemble the full human sizes (Emily, 1995, p 234). Moreover, smaller king were placed in the midst to indicate the Royal embalming. The multipurpose structure highlighted was intentionally expanded to indicate the size of the kingdom and complex royal structure. Temples were primarily used to house the status of kings that considered them to be smaller gods to the people. The kings were believed to possess special powers to cause suffering to the people. As a result, they were given special treatment to avoid their wrath to the communities. Moreover, priest were required to have direct access to the temple to enable them appease the statues to maintain them and keep their wrath away. The importance of the statues in the cultural setting of the people living in the old kingdom is well exemplified by the many temples constructed across the kingdom. Numerous temples to house the statues were constructed .However; some temples such as the one of Menkaure at Giza were, unfortunately, uncompleted.
The specific placement of the royal statues was a common indicator of their cultural and religious functions. Ideally, the placement of the statue indicating the royal mother was commonly used to refer the king’s rebirth. The triads of Menkaure rekindled the historical statues and religious interrelationship. The goddess Hathor was pictured accompanying the king drawing the close interrelationship between the kingdom and the people’s religion Moreover, king statues placed in the temples were normally place on a raised grounds with their subjects kneeling before them. The move helped underscore the interrelationship involving the royal family and kingdom’s god and goddess (Dieter, 1999, p78). Moreover, to indicate the powerful nature of the king statues indicating many foreign captives were sculptured and placed in kneeling position before king. The act of kneeling before the king was important in indicating the critical, powerful nature of kings in the old kingdoms. Moreover, some temples housing the temples were constructed at the base of the courts as an indicator of their centrality to the organization decision-making structures. Moreover, some temples such as the Harmakhis were exposed to the sky (Emily, 1995, p 234). The exposure indicates the importance of solar to the deities. The statues placed in the temples require a direct interconnection to the sky given their divine role perceived in their cultural context. Moreover, in spite the protection provided to the royal statues some statues placed the Great Sphinx were openly exposed to the environment as signifying no fear to the people (Bierbrier, 2008, p 78). However, it is still unclear of the intended purpose to expose the sphinxes whether to either act as a clear landmark to the location of the temples or were aimed at reducing their visibility. The sphinxes were large measuring eight meters long. Moreover, the Mastabas in the old kingdom were indicative of the increasing threat to the statues given they were given heightened security while at the same time the number of statues increased (Ashton, 2001, p 92). The move aimed at enabling the protection of the statues from destruction and external forces that were ill minded.
The statue of the Amunhotep son of Hapu at Medinet Habu is another significant statue in the ancient Egypt. The statue that is carved and made to hold some unrolled pieces of papyrus leaves is indicative of the people’s spiritual being. The statue was deemed to be the intercessory factor in the relation between the gods and the people. The statue was used in the Ptolemaic era that referred to the Egypt’s late ancient periods (Strudwick, 2006, p 99). . The statues religious position is confirmed by the numerous demonic messages written on the pillar as people sought for help from the gods. The god of Amun was believed to be the sole provider of life and could exorcise demonic forces that were disturbing the people. More importantly, the statue revealed the flourishing cult of the gods of Amunhotep. The statue only measured 25 cm .however, it had heavy ankle and was wrapped with a golden sheath indicated the high value allocated to it in the ancient society (Emily, 1995, p 234). Moreover, the hieroglyphics written on the papyrus leaves were aimed at expressing the community’s cultural respect to the king they revered and respected very much. Moreover, the writing referred to the king as the greatest god with the abilities to offer more to the people. Moreover, the writing referred to their great energy and ability to heal in every day. As a result, the statue is regarded as a scribe statue due to the written messages inscribed during its carving (Andrews, 2006, p 62).
However, the statue that was collected from the tombs was believed to be a goddess. The head failed to match perfectly the neck raising doubt whether the reconstructed sculptor was a female. Moreover, the excavators believed the head belonged to the woman that was laid next to the discovered statue due to the neck head mismatch (Ann, 2002, p 103). As a result the excavators declared the statue was a god given the absence of feminine suggestion in the hieroglyphics. The god of Amun doctrines was widespread over large areas with centers of worship across Mephia, Saqqara, Armat, Dendera and Aswan. The cult swept across Thebes. The cults of the Imhotep and Amunhotep were dominant in Thebes as they were believed to possess Special Forces to influence the various activities in the society. Their ability to drive away evil forces and heal the people made them outstanding in the cultural setup. The people strived to appease them to drive away evil forces away from them. However, a slight confusion occurred in the distinction of the scribe statue between Amunhotep and Imhotep. However, the structural confusion was resolved through interpretation of the hieroglyphics. Additionally, another distinctive characteristic existed involving their mode of dressing. Amunhotep statue across the temples was known to wear concealing garment. On the other hand, Imhotep was associated with wearing knee high or calf length kilts. Moreover, the statue was discovered in the mortuary complex near the temples of Amunhotep (Silverman & Brovarski, 1997 p 34). Amunhotep that was regarded as the son of Amun was considered to be involved in the critical decision-making processes for the community. The son of Amun was believed to be making joint appointments with him. To underscore the role Amunhotep, the preserved hieroglyphics include a message welcoming the people to the statue that transfer to their god of Amun. The message encourages the people to make offering to it and make libations that attract goodwill from the god. Moreover, the Amunhotep claims to be the appointed spokesperson of the god of Amun at Djeme (Betsy, 1992, p 245). Moreover, the gilding shape of the statue held to express the divinity manifested in it.
In conclusion, it is evident that statue hold a critical position in the reconstruction of history about the ancient times. Moreover, the various shapes and scribal on their bodies indicate the need to analyze carefully and understand them to reconstruct accurately the history.
Andrews, C. A. R. (2006). Objects for eternity: Egyptian antiquities from the W. Arnold Meijer Collection. Mainz [u.a.], Zabern.
Ann M, R. (2002). The meaning of menial labor.”servants statues” in old kingdom serdabs’. Journal of the American Research Centre in Egypt, 39:103(21).
Ashton, S.-A. (2001). Ptolemaic royal sculpture from Egypt: the interaction between Greek and Egyptian traditions. Oxford, Archaeopress.
Betsy M, B. (1992). “Private Statuary” In A. Kozloff and B.M Bryan,Egypt’s Dazzling Sun:Amenhotep III and his World. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of art, pp.237-60.
Bierbrier, M. L. (2008). Historical dictionary of ancient Egypt. Lanham, Md, Scarecrow Press.
Emily, T. (1995). Amunhotep son of Hapu at Medinet Habu. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 81, pp.232-236.
Dieter, A. (1999). ‘Old kingdom statures in their Architectural setting’.In; Egyptian art in the age of the pyramids. New York: MMA.
Gay, R. (2001). Egyptian Statues. Buckinghamshire.
Silverman, D. P., & Brovarski, E. (1997). Searching for ancient Egypt: art, architecture, and artifacts from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology : [exhibition venues: Dallas Museum of Art, September 28, 1997, to February 1, 1998 …]. [Ithaca, NY], Cornell Univ. Press [u.a.].
Strudwick, N. (2006). Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt. London, The British Museum Press.