Block Statue of Harsiese, a Priest of Amun and Min
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Although few private stone statues were made during Dynasty XXI (circa 1070–945 B.C.), Dynasties XXII through XXV (circa 945–653 B.C.) witnessed their revival. Among the first sculptural types to reappear was the block statue, a distinctly Egyptian blending of abstract and naturalistic forms. The broad expanses of these squatting figures' robes often reflect another aspect of Third Intermediate Period art: a penchant for adorning a statue's garments with religious texts, symbols, and scenes.
This statue's main texts invoke Amun and Montu of Thebes on Harsiese's behalf, indicating the sculpture's probable provenance. The scenes of Osiris and of Harsiese adoring a symbol of Osiris are appeals for the perpetual favor of that deity. The statue is dated by details of its form and style. Some elements, such as the plain double wig and long, narrowly opened eyes, began to appear about 780–760 B.C.
ca. 712-653 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 25
Third Intermediate Period
Gift of Charles Pratt
Fine grained black granodiorite squatting statue of the priest of Amen and Min, Harsiese. Bag wig, beard, arms crossed with left hand flat, palm down, right hand grasps an attribute. Feet not shown, body well modelled completely in the round. On front of body incised rectangle with eight columns and one line of incised inscription. On back of body, two columns of incised inscription ('local god formula'). On each side of body, Harsiese in incised relief is shown worshipping Osiris (right) and standard of Osiris (left) with inscriptions. Oblong base uninscribed.
Egyptian. Block Statue of Harsiese, a Priest of Amun and Min, ca. 712-653 B.C.E. Basalt, Height: 12 1/8 in. (30.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles Pratt, 51.15. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.51.15_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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I am very intrigued by how in ancient times, everything the a Egyptians created was carved into stone.
Not everything was created in stone. It was a favored material for funerary monuments (like the Pyramids!) and tomb goods. You'll also see objects made of wood and clay in the galleries! And while most of what remains today is in stone, the ancient Egyptians created a lot of work in other materials that aren't in museums simply because they didn't survive.
Why did this artist decide to use stone?
The artist decided the use stone because of the commission he would have received from the person who purchased this statue.
Stone was a popular material in ancient Egypt for its durability. The idea was for these statues to exist forever.
Can you elaborate more on the idea of life after death for eternity?
The ancient Egyptians believed that when you died you were reborn into the afterlife where you continued to live an existence very similar to your everyday life before death. They believed that this second life lasted forever and that the deceased would need supplies from this world to take to the next. Statues of the deceased served as a place the deceased could occupy in times of rest.