Can you tell me about this?
This statue dates to a period when the Persian Empire controlled Egypt which explains the man's unusual clothing and jewelry. The high skirt tied at the chest is distinctly Persian as is the necklace, called a "torque," featuring ibexes. Despite the Persian garments, this man still wears an Egyptian-style wig and had Egyptian-style features.
Around what time in history did people start destroying the noses in Egyptian art? Because the Sphinx also has its nose removed, correct?
You are correct! We're not sure exactly when the belief originated, but from very early on there was a belief in ancient Egypt that a soul could inhabit a statue, which means that, if you cut off the statue's nose, it could not breathe and the soul couldn't live there any more. Sometimes noses break off due to thousands of years of exposure to the elements as well.
Some scholars speculate that this belief predates the pyramids, so before 2600 BCE.
I’m currently looking at “Egyptian Man in Persian Costume.” It’s so interesting to me how the influx of Persians influenced the style/artistic conventions of Egyptian art during that time period. How do we know the statue is Egyptian? Especially since the piece’s sign says “Provenance not known.”
While the provenance is not known, the man himself has Egyptian style features and an Egyptian style wig. The statue, which dates to the later period of Persian rule in Egypt, therefore shows an Egyptian dressed in Persian clothing, in an Egyptian sculptural style! He was showing his allegiance to Persia while maintaining his identity.
Can we assume that despite the fact that Persians invaded Egypt (which sounds like a somewhat negative series of events), the adoption of dress/style of the Persians by the Egyptians means the Egyptians’ government was seized a result of the invasion?
Yes, you're right, at this point the Persians conquered and ruled Egypt, accounting for the influence in style of dress of officials. It was a sign of loyalty. By the time this was made, known as the 31st Dynasty, the Persians had conquered and ruled in Egypt once before, losing power and reconquering. This is sometimes referred to as a the Second Persian Period which was only brought to an end by the conquest of Alexander the Great.
What techniques were used to make this?
Like with most Egyptian stone carving, the stone for this statue would have first been quarried using harder stone and bronze chisels. Bronze chisels also would have been used to create the rough shapes of the statue.
Finally, the details would have been shaped by rubbing with sand and other abbrasives much like we use sand paper today.
This statue is made of granite, which is a relatively hard stone. Therefore, ancient artists would have had to rely a lot on rubbing to be able to shape the stone the way they wanted it.
I don’t know who this is.
Neither do we! With no inscription indicating his name we only know that this man held a relatively high rank, likely a government official, during the time that Persia ruled Egypt.
His garment and necklace are Persian in style, but his headdress in Egyptian. Egypt was a part of the Persian Empire two separate times, but Persia exacted little direct control.
Oh thank you very much.
Do you know what material this statue is made from?
This work is made from granite, a hard stone that the ancient Egyptians used often.
What tools would have been used to make it?
As with most ancient Egyptian sculpture and carving, the rough shapes were created using metal (bronze or copper) chisels. The details and smooth surfaces were created using abrasives.
Is this figure a ruler? Why was he carved in a way that looks half Egyptian and half Persian?
This man is not a ruler, but likely did work for the government. He is shown in Persian clothing because he worked during a time that the Persians controlled Egypt.