What happened to the nose? I noticed that most of the Egyptian figures have missing noses!
Missing noses in ancient Egyptian sculpture can usually be attributed to two causes:
The simple one is that noses stick out and therefore break off more easily if the statue falls, for example.
The other, and more prevalent one, is based on the ancient Egyptian belief that a soul could inhabit a statue. By cutting off the nose, the statue can't breathe and is therefore rendered dead. It's also easier than destroying the whole figure.
Fundamentalists in the early days of Christianity in Egypt cut the noses off of statues as a way to destroy the old gods.
Tell me more.
Here you see the white crown of Upper Egypt. Throughout Egyptian history, you see royal headdresses indicating the separate geographic regions of the country.
I’ve noticed a lot of sculptural pieces have the description on the side of the display rather than the front. is there a reason for that?
It's a choice that the curators and exhibition designers made. One benefit to this placement is that some who wants to spend time reading the whole label will not be standing directly in front of other viewers.
Oh! That is very smart. I haven’t seen that anywhere else but it’s a great idea. Thanks!
You're welcome! Another benefit is that is leads more people to take a look at this sculpture's dramatic profile!
So true! A lot of these Egyptian pieces are incredible from the side. They really pay attention to all angles. I like that some of them have hieroglyphs written down the back.
They really are! And yes! Writing was as important--if not more so--than images, it was the way that images were identified.
Sometimes, the writing down the back might not even have been seen. Just the fact that it was there was most important.
Why is he wearing a big hat?
That big hat is a crown!
The figure you're looking at is a king, from the Early 18th dynasty. He wears the white crown of Upper Egypt (Southern Egypt).
The date of this head was determined based on the style of the facial features. We know it represents a king of Egypt because of his headdress. He wears the White Crown of Upper (meaning southern) Egypt, and the shape at the front would have been a cobra, called a uraeus, symbolizing a protective goddess.
Tell me more.
I especially love the opportunity to get up close and personal with this over life-size statue of a king! Ordinarily, his head would be far above ours, but this way we can get a good look at all the subtle carving details. It is by the style of the face, especially the wide-set, upwardly angled, spherical eyes, and the broad, flaring nose, that scholars have narrowed down the unknown identity of this head to one of two kings.