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Article

Ahhotpe  

J. H. Taylor

(d c. 1550–1530 bc). Egyptian queen and patron. Perhaps the wife of King Kamose, she should be distinguished from the later Ahhotpe, mother of King Ahmose (reg c.1540–c.1514 bc). Her intact burial was discovered at Thebes in 1859. The massive anthropoid coffin with gilded lid (Cairo, Egyp. Mus., CG 28501) was of the rishi type, characteristic of the 17th and early 18th dynasties (see Egypt, ancient §XII 2., (i), (c)). Four lidless alabaster vases, which probably served as canopic jars, were also found, but most important was the large collection of gold and silver jewellery and ceremonial weapons discovered inside the coffin. These pieces, all of which are in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, constitute the prime evidence for goldsmiths’ and jewellers’ techniques at the beginning of the New Kingdom (see Egypt, ancient §XIV 4.).

The principal pieces included an inlaid golden pectoral, two collars, a massive golden armlet (possibly belonging to King Ahmose) and a variety of bracelets of gold, precious stones and beadwork. There were three daggers, including a particularly fine specimen of gold (CG 52658), with ornamental handle and inlaid blade. Of the three axes, the finest (CG 52645) has a gilded blade, richly inlaid with figured scenes and royal names; it is secured to the cedar-wood handle by a lashing of golden thongs. There were also three large golden fly pendants on a chain and two model boats, one of gold and the other of silver. The silver model boat is mounted on a four-wheeled carriage of wood and bronze. Perhaps the finest piece, technically, is an inlaid scarab on an elaborately constructed gold chain of very small links....

Article

R. Krauss

[Amenophis IV, Neferkheperurewaenre]

(reg c. 1353–c. 1336 bc).

King of Egypt in the late 18th Dynasty, son of Amenophis III and husband of Nefertiti. His reign was characterized by revolutionary changes in religion and art. Soon after his accession, Amenophis IV, as Akhenaten was at first known, began to build a temple complex at Thebes for the Aten, the disc-shaped manifestation of the traditional sun-god Re. In the fifth year of his reign, he founded a new capital in Middle Egypt at the site now known as Amarna, (Tell) el-: the period roughly encompassed by Akhenaten’s reign is therefore usually known as the Amarna period. Thereafter the King changed his name to Akhenaten (‘Beneficial to the Aten’), and throughout Egypt the worship of traditional gods was neglected, while the cult of the previously pre-eminent god Amun was actively persecuted.

Akhenaten’s name is inextricably associated with the Amarna style created during his reign, according to which the King, his family and their relationship to the sun-god were the only proper subjects for art. Reliefs in the earlier Amarna style are known from reused fragments (the so-called ...

Article

(b Athribis, nr Benha, c. 1440 bc; d c. 1350 bc).

Ancient Egyptian architect and patron. Amenhotpe rose to prominence in his home town during the reign of Amenophis III (reg c. 1391–c. 1353 bc) as a royal scribe and chief of the priests of the local god Khentekhtai. About 1390 bc he moved to the royal court at Thebes and was rapidly promoted by Amenophis III to the position of chief royal architect, responsible for the whole process of temple construction, from quarrying to the sculpting of relief decoration, as well as the commissioning of royal statues. The full list of buildings for which Amenhotpe was architect is not known, but he certainly supervised the construction of a huge temple at Soleb near the second cataract of the Nile in Lower Nubia, where several of the reliefs depict him standing alongside the King during the temple consecration ceremony. He also built two tombs and a mortuary temple for himself on the west bank at Thebes (...

Article

Ian M. E. Shaw

[Nebmaatre]

(reg c. 1391–c. 1353 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron. He reigned in the late 18th Dynasty (c. 1540–c. 1292 bc), a time of great national peace and prosperity. Amenophis III was a prolific builder: it was during his reign that Amenhotpe, the greatest Egyptian architect since Imhotep, rose to a position of power and influence as ‘Overseer of all the King’s Works’.

Although Amenophis III constructed numerous temples, from Memphis and Bubastis in the north of Egypt to Soleb and Sedeinga in the south (see Nubia, §III), only a small number of these have survived. His mortuary temple, built in fine white limestone on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, must have been one of the most impressive buildings of the time, but it was systematically dismantled in the 19th Dynasty (c. 1292–c. 1190 bc). Only a few items of sculpture and stelae have been preserved from it, notably the celebrated ‘...

Article

Claude Vandersleyen

[Amenemhet III; Nymaatre]

Egyptian ruler. Both architecture and sculpture have survived from his reign in the 12th Dynasty (for chronological chart of Egyptian kings see Egypt, ancient, fig.). He built two pyramids, one at Dahshur and the other at Hawara in the Faiyum region, where is also a small temple, finished by Ammenemes III’s successor, Ammenemes IV; the reliefs in this temple have not been published in detail. Some reliefs of Ammenemes III were also found at Abydos (Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus.); they display little of the quality and interest of the reliefs of his predecessor, Sesostris III.

There are more than 50 statues and heads of Ammenemes III, easily identifiable because of his distinctive physiognomy. As with the statues of Sesostris III, they appear to correspond to various ages of the King; however, this progression is probably complicated by wider variations of style and dimensions. The characteristic traits of these heads are large eyes (always serious and impassive), exceptionally large ears and a nose that is far less prominent than that of Sesostris III and hooks back into the face after the bump of the nasal bone. His mouth has thick, curled lips, the corners of which turn up to end against fleshy protuberances. The cheek-bones are very high and wide and are cut by a wrinkle leaving the inside corner of the eye at an angle of 45°....

Article

Peter F. Dorman

[Maatkare]

(reg c. 1479–c. 1458 bc). Ancient Egyptian ruler of Egypt and patron. Daughter of Tuthmosis I and princess of the royal blood, Hatshepsut married her half-brother Tuthmosis II and, at the death of her father, became queen consort. Her considerable influence as queen and ‘god’s wife’ of Amun continued unabated when her father died, and she acted for several years as regent for the young Tuthmosis III, her nephew and stepson. For reasons that remain conjectural, Hatshepsut assumed pharaonic titles, probably in year seven of Tuthmosis’s reign, and insinuated herself as the senior partner of a co-regency.

Unlike previous women who had ruled Egypt, she was consistently portrayed in sculpture and relief as a male, creating a polite fiction that enabled her to legitimize her claim to the throne. Her sculpture generally conforms to the royal style of Tuthmosis III, although in certain instances the sculptor has attempted to soften the masculine conception of the vigorous and athletic youth that embodies the Tuthmosid ideal. Hatshepsut is occasionally depicted with slender elongated limbs that may well be an attempt to imbue the royal figure with a sense of femininity (...

Article

Alain-Pierre Zivie

[Djeserkheprure]

(reg c. 1319–c. 1292 bc). Ancient Egyptian ruler and patron of the post-Amarna period. The reign of Horemheb was rich and fascinating in terms of art and architecture, although the amount of evidence is small and the situation is confused by the large number of monuments usurped from his predecessors. It would be too simplistic to consider him merely as one who restored order and traditional religious cults after the so-called anarchy or revolution of the reign of Akhenaten (reg c. 1353–c. 1336 bc). It was during the reign of Akhenaten that he first came to prominence, perhaps under the earlier name of Paatenemheb, later appearing in the monuments of Tutankhamun (reg c. 1332–c. 1323 bc) as the general-in-chief and regent, Horemheb. He became even more powerful during the reign of Ay (reg c. 1323–c. 1319 bc), whom he eventually succeeded. It is possible that his wife Mutnodjmet was of royal descent and thus conferred on him a legitimacy that he had at first lacked....

Article

Peter Der Manuelian

(fl mid-7th century bc; d before 647 bc). Egyptian priest, administrator and patron. First documented in Thebes under the Kushite king Taharqa, Mentuemhet survived the subsequent Assyrian invasion and sack of Thebes, and he continued to control most of Upper Egypt even after the reunification of the country in 656 bc under the 26th (Saite) Dynasty. He is mentioned in an oracle papyrus dated to 651 bc.

During the 26th Dynasty, numerous aspects of ancient Egyptian culture were revived, including artistic, religious and linguistic traditions; motifs and styles of earlier periods were deliberately copied, creating a consciously archaic style. This is somewhat misleadingly called the ‘Saite Renaissance’.

Mentuemhet possessed the status and wealth to wield a powerful influence on his age both politically and artistically. Over a dozen statues reflect a wide range of earlier tastes and styles (e.g. Cairo, Egyp. Mus., CG 42236, see fig., and London, BM, ...

Article

Ann Macy Roth

(reg c. 2490–c. 2472 bc). Egyptian king of the 4th Dynasty (c 2475–c. 2465 bc), whose pyramid was the third and smallest of the group at Giza (see Giza, §1). The tomb of Mycerinus may have actually been more extravagant than those of his predecessors, since he seems to have intended to case it entirely in red granite. However, he died before the pyramid could be completed, and its upper courses were cased in limestone, while the attached temple complex was finished in mud brick by his successor, Shepseskaf (reg c. 2472–c. 2465 bc).

Mycerinus’ complex, as was typical for the period, consisted of a mortuary temple at the base of the pyramid’s eastern face, a valley temple at the western edge of the cultivated fields and a causeway connecting the two (for a plan of the temple see...

Article

Narmer  

M. S. Drower

(reg c. 3000 bc). Ancient Egyptian ruler. A series of small sculptures bear the name of Narmer, who was the last predynastic king of Egypt and who is identified by some with the traditional first pharaoh, Menes. Objects bearing Narmer’s name were found at Abydos in and near Tomb B10, generally thought to have been his burial-place, but also in Queen Neithhotpe’s tomb at Naqada. The most important monuments of his reign come from Hierakonpolis (Egyp. Nekhen), the ancient Upper Egyptian capital.

A large macehead (Oxford, Ashmolean), bearing relief decoration, shows Narmer in his jubilee cloak and the red crown of Lower Egypt; dignitaries stand behind his throne and standard-bearers approach him; large numbers of men, oxen and goats are enumerated, and there are other hieroglyphic signs. Another mace head from Hierakonpolis also bears Narmer’s name, while a third shows a dyke being cut by a king labelled ‘Scorpion’, perhaps another name for Narmer (...

Article

C. A. Keller

(fl c. 1270 bc). Egyptian queen of the 19th Dynasty. Nefertari was the Great Royal Wife of Ramesses II (reg c. 1279–c. 1213 bc) during at least the first half of his reign. By far the most prominent of the royal spouses of this king, she is well attested in both Egyptian and cuneiform texts and is represented on numerous royal monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia. At Abu Simbel, her slim figure, clad in flowing linen garments and crowned with tall plumes flanked by graceful bovine horns, is ubiquitous in both the Great Temple and the Small Temple—which was dedicated to her in association with the Goddess Hathor of Ibshek (Abu Simbel). She was only the second royal spouse to be so honoured. Her predecessor in this respect, Queen Tiye, was a Great Wife of Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc), whom Ramesses II often emulated in other contexts. The bovine horns, in the sculptures of Nefertari at Abu Simbel, are probably associated with the Goddess Isis-Sothis. Nefertari is depicted with an almost identical crown in her tomb at ...

Article

R. Krauss

(reg c. 1353–c. 1336 bc).

Egyptian queen, principal wife of Akhenaten. Throughout Akhenaten’s reign only Nefertiti was afforded the status of Great Royal Wife, enjoying privileges never bestowed on the spouse of any other Egyptian king before or since. She was the mother of six daughters. The date of her death and the location of her tomb are unknown.

Reliefs, paintings and statuary depict Nefertiti as often as her husband, and during the first years of his reign she was shown with the same physiognomy, characterized by enormous swelling thighs. Later, a distinctive portrait type was created for her, different from Akhenaten’s but, like his, subject to stylistic evolution. The famous painted limestone bust of Nefertiti (Berlin, Ägyp. Mus., 21300; see fig.), which typifies the Queen’s portrait type, retains some elements of the early style, while an unfinished brown quartzite head (Cairo, Egyp. Mus., JE 59286) is rendered in the later softened, ‘idealizing’ style. In early representations she wears either a tripartite or a ‘Nubian’ wig, crowned with an elaborate headdress, but in later images this is replaced by the tall, cylindrical blue crown seen in the Berlin bust....

Article

[Usermaatre-setepenre; Ramesses the Great]

(reg c 1279–c. 1213 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron of the 19th Dynasty. He was responsible for the largest number of buildings and statues in the whole of ancient Egyptian history (even including those from the 18th Dynasty reign of Amenophis III). His most important and well-preserved works (buildings and notable bas-reliefs) are, from north to south, at Abydos; several sites in Thebes (see Thebes, §II, 1), including Luxor (the Peristyle Court and second Pylon), Karnak (in particular the decoration of the Hypostyle Hall and the outer wall of the great Temple of Amun) and the Ramesseum; and six Nubian temples (Beit el-Wali, Gerf Hussein, Wadi Sebua, el-Derr and the two temples at Abu Simbel; for illustration see Abu Simbel). Most of the Nubian temples were cut into the cliff-face. At this time the Egyptian temple acquired its classic form; widespread use was made of smooth-sided columns with papyrus-bud capitals....

Article

Claude Vandersleyen

[Usermaatre-meryamun]

(reg c 1187–c. 1156 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron. The principal surviving monuments of Ramesses III, the most important king of the 20th Dynasty, are his huge mortuary temple at Medinet Habu (see Thebes, §VII) and two small ‘bark-temples’ (shrines containing the divine bark), the entrance to one of which is today in the first court of the Temple of Amun in Karnak; the other is situated to the west of the sacred lake in the precinct of Mut (south Karnak). Ramesses III modelled himself on his great ancestor Ramesses II and the Medinet Habu temple could be said to be a faithful copy of Ramesses II’s mortuary temple, the Ramesseum. The temples of Ramesses III, like those of Ramesses II, are characterized by numerous statues of the King incorporated into the pillars in the courts. These are sometimes in the enshrouded form of the god Osiris (as in the temple at Karnak) and sometimes in royal regalia (as in the first court of Medinet Habu)....

Article

Peter F. Dorman

(fl c. 1473–c. 1458 bc). Egyptian official. Perhaps the most powerful courtier during the co-regency of Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut, Senenmut began his career as steward of the queen-consort Hatshepsut. His ascent to power culminated with the accession of Hatshepsut to the throne of Egypt, whereupon he was appointed great steward of the god Amun, his primary title among many lesser administrative and religious offices. His considerable influence doubtless derived partly from his association with Hatshepsut and partly from his control over the worldly possessions of the burgeoning estate of Amun. Senenmut is commonly described as the architect of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri but only because he was ‘overseer of royal works at Djeser-djeseru’, a title he shared with several contemporary officials.

In addition to two Theban tombs and a rock-cut cenotaph at Gebel el-Silsila, over two dozen statues of Senenmut have been identified, many of which represent the earliest examples of statue types new to the sculptor’s repertory. Among these are standing or kneeling statues in which Senenmut holds his ward, Princess Nefrure, or presents a votive object such as a naos or sistrum dedicated to a god. Other types depict Senenmut holding a surveyor’s measure, which may be a reference to his office of ‘overseer of fields’, or a cryptogram representing the prenomen of Hatshepsut. Despite the striking variety of statue types, it is doubtful whether Senenmut was the guiding genius behind such conspicuous artistic creativity. His ...

Article

Claude Vandersleyen

[Khakaure; Senusret III]

Egyptian ruler of the 12th Dynasty. The brick pyramid of Sesostris III (for chronological chart of Egyptian kings see Egypt, ancient, fig.) at Dahshur is the only surviving evidence of his architectural activity. It has been possible to reconstruct the plan of a temple of Sesostris III at Madamud, and some blocks have been discovered at various sites in the Delta and Upper Egypt, but most of these are lintels and jambs of doors that opened into mud-brick walls. On two lintels and on the facings of a door from Madamud there are excellent reliefs showing the King (Paris, Louvre, and Cairo, Egyp. Mus.).

On the other hand, numerous statues and fragments (including more than 30 heads) have preserved the features of Sesostris III, confirming the iconographic evidence of the reliefs (see fig.). The physiognomy of the King is very characteristic, with globular eyes, bony eyebrow arches (without conventional eyebrows), hollow temples, protruding cheek-bones and a nose that is prominent, aquiline and thin. Furrows run from the inside corners of his eyes, between the cheek-bones and the nose; his mouth is surly; his lips are thin, their corners turned down; his chin is receding and flat....

Article

C. A. Keller

(reg c. 1290–c. 1279 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron, second ruler of the 19th Dynasty. The inclusion in his own titulary of the expression wehem–meswt (Egyp.: ‘renaissance’) explicitly stated the rationale for his vigorous political and architectural activity: in his aggressive military policy he sought to emulate the achievements of Tuthmosis III (reg c. 1479–c. 1426 bc) by re-establishing Egyptian power in Nubia and north Syria, and in his extensive building programme he attempted to restore monuments defaced during the Amarna period by iconoclastic followers of the sun god Aten. His repairs were frequently accompanied by a text, such as ‘a renewal of this monument that Sethos I made’.

His own monuments were fashioned on a large scale, possibly in imitation of the massive projects of Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc), and were decorated with characteristically fine reliefs. At Thebes, his most significant accomplishment was the completion of the ‘...

Article

Ian M. E. Shaw

[Ka-aper]

(fl c. 2465 bc). Egyptian chief lector–priest. His mastaba tomb (labelled C8) is near the pyramid of the 5th Dynasty king Userkaf (reg c. 2465–c. 2458 bc) in North Saqqara. An uninscribed wooden standing statue (Cairo, Egyp. Mus., CG 34) was found in Tomb C8 when it was excavated by Mariette in 1860. Mariette’s workmen gave the statue its nickname, ‘Sheikh el-Beled’ (Arab.: ‘headman of the village’).

The life-size, sycamore-wood statue, originally covered in plaster, represents Ka-aper as a stout, middle-aged figure dressed in a straight skirt tied at the waist. It is perhaps the best-known of Old Kingdom private statues (see Egypt, ancient §IX 3., (iii), (a)), displaying a remarkable realism with the round face and plump stomach clearly indicating the comfortable prosperity of a chief priest. The pose of the figure, standing with left foot forward, is typical of male funerary sculpture of the Old Kingdom. The left arm is bent at the elbow and originally held a staff (now restored), and the right arm is straight at his side holding a ...

Article

Taharqa  

Edna R. Russmann

[Bibl. Tirhakah]

(reg 690–664 bc).

Third king of the Egyptian 25th Dynasty (c. 750–c 656 bc), a line of Egyptianized foreigners from Kush (see Nubia, §IV). Biblical references, Assyrian records and his own numerous monuments have made Taharqa’s name synonymous with Kushite rule in Egypt. His sculptural and architectural styles epitomize 25th Dynasty art (see Egypt, ancient, §IX, 1). His representations are strongly archaizing, with broad shoulders, slim hips and muscular legs emulating royal sculpture of the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc). The bodies of Taharqa’s finest statues (e.g. two torsos of standing figures found at North Karnak; Cairo, Egyp. Mus., JE 39403–4) combine elegance and strength in a manner seldom seen in Egyptian royal sculpture after the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc).

Some of his regalia was uniquely Kushite. Though he was portrayed wearing all the major Egyptian crowns, except the helmet-like Blue Crown, most frequently he was shown with a broad fillet, tied over a headdress that closely followed the shape of the skull and hairline. Opinions differ as to whether it represents close-cropped hair or a tight-fitting cap. Even more distinctive were a ram’s-head amulet and, at the front of the headdress, a double-uraeus cobra (instead of the single uraeus worn by Egyptian kings since the 1st Dynasty (...

Article

Marianne Eaton-Krauss

[Nebkheperure]

(reg c. 1332–c. 1323 bc). Ancient Egyptian king of the late 18th Dynasty. His virtually intact Theban tomb (numbered KV 62) was discovered at the Valley of the Kings, in 1922, by Howard Carter. The art of Tutankhamun’s reign epitomizes the immediate post-Amarna style. The significance of his tomb’s contents (Cairo, Egyp. Mus.) for the cultural history of Ancient Egypt is still largely unstudied. Few of these artefacts—ranging from chariots to canopic vases—have been dealt with as works of art, and many are characterized by excessively ambitious design because of attempts to incorporate a plethora of religious symbols into the structure of a single item, a tendency particularly evident in the jewellery and the ceremonial calcite vessels. The technical precision evinced in the execution of these designs is, however, generally high, as Aldred has demonstrated for the gold work (see fig.).

Tutankhamun was probably born in el-Amarna (the city founded by ...