- Dates: May 5, 2010 through date unknown
- Collections: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
Seen as the estates of the gods, temples formed the core of Egyptian religion and influenced the organization of the Egyptian state, economy, and society. Theoretically, the pharaoh presided over all temple rituals. In reality, priests acting in place of the king performed his duties at every temple every day. Royal temple construction, maintenance, and the continuous performance of rituals were believed to assure universal balance and provide divine protection for Egypt and its inhabitants. While the king’s actions established the connection of the people with divinity, the populace expressed devotion by offering small stone or bronze images of the gods and of themselves at their local temples. However, ordinary Egyptian people witnessed divinity only during festivals, when cult images, believed to be inhabited by a god, were brought out from the most sacred part of the temple. By depositing statues of themselves, non-royal individuals were able to secure their presence and participation in every temple ritual and festival.