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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

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 (...