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Middle Kingdom Treasures

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According to the accepted chronology, a century and a half of anarchy and chaos followed the downfall of the Old Kingdom leaving little architectural or artistic evidence behind it.  The end result being that Middle Kingdom art is quite different from Old Kingdom art.

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ka-statue of Awibra-HorThis striking statue depicts the ka of Awibra-Hor, a ruler of the 13th-Dynasty.  The statue was discovered within its naos in a tomb to the north of the pyramid of Amenemhat III at Dahshur.  Awibra-Hor is portrayed nude wearing, instead of a headdress, the uplifted arms that represent the hieroglyph for the ka.  Thus, this statue represents the ka itself.  According to the ancient Egyptians, the ka was the immaterial double of a person - a sort of divine spirit or life force.  When an individual died, the ka continued to live.  Certain elements of the statue (the arms, the left leg and the toes) were carved separately and assembled by means of tenons, as was usually the case with wooden statuary.   The pharaoh is represented in a striding pose on a rectangular base.  His right arm is held along his body and in this hand he would once have gripped a kherep scepter.  The left arm is extended forward and this hand would have once held a long staff reaching the ground.  The figure is wearing a long, three-part wig striated with narrow, parallel incisions, which leaves the ears exposed and reaches the chest.   The figure is otherwise naked, although traces of a belt are visible around the waist and there are a number of holes below the navel that were probably used to fix a separate loincloth or kilt.  The pharaoh's oval face is particularly refined, with inlaid eyes outlined with bronze, the nose is straight and the mouth small.  A long slim beard, a symbol of divinity, is attached to the chin.  The neck was once adorned with an usekh necklace covered with gold leaf.  Traces of the precious metal are also visible on the wig.  This sculpture is a fine example of the wooden statuary of the early part of the second millennium BCE which in certain respects appears to draw on Old Kingdom traditions.  13th Dynasty

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All pictures are Copyright 1998 - 2001 Grisel Gonzalez

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