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August 13, 2011

Amenemhat II in New York


Wrote Kelly Crow in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, "A 9-ton, 4,000-year-old Egyptian pharaoh will take a seat in the lobby of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art this month. The 10-foot-high sculpture depicts ruler Amenemhat II sitting on a throne-like cube. Part of his nose is missing, but he still exudes youthful power with broad shoulders and a calm smile. The work, on loan from Berlin's Egyptian Museum [where it is pictured, above and below], will remain at the Met for the next decade."

From Carol Vogel's August 4, 2011 New York Times story:

A colossal statue of a pharaoh weighing more than nine tons is heading to the Met by ship from Germany. When it arrives in New York in the next 10 days, it will go on view in the museum’s Great Hall.

Installing such a monumental stone work will take an entire day. It will lie on its back in an enormous crate on what Met officials describe as "high-tech wheels" and be moved through the galleries to the Great Hall. In about a year it will move again — to the Egyptian galleries, naturally.

The statue, more than 10 feet high, depicts Amenemhat II, the third king of the 12th Dynasty, who reigned during the most important period of the Middle Kingdom — from around 1919 to 1885 B.C. He is posed wearing only a kilt around his hips and upper legs, sitting on a throne of a simple cubic shape.

As part of the royal costume there is a ceremonial bull’s tail between the king’s legs, a sign of strength. On his head Amenemhat is wearing a royal head cloth called a nemes, and over his forehead is the royal cobra symbolizing the ruler’s power.

The single block of stone from which the statue was carved came from a quarry at Aswan, in southern Egypt. It was shipped more than 500 miles north to the area of Memphis (near Cairo) where the sculpturing was completed and the statue erected within a temple.

But 600 years later the 19th Dynasty kings Ramesses II and Merneptah had their names added to the throne and base, and some of the facial features were altered to look like Ramesses II.

Ms. Arnold said the statue was presumably taken to Piramesse in the Eastern Delta, the capital of the Ramesside kings, only to be moved again 200 years later to Tanis, the residence of the kings of the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. It was thought to have been uncovered there by an archeologist in the early 19th century and was acquired by what is now the Egyptian Museum in 1837.

Am I the only one who's gobsmacked that the priceless sculpture


sat outdoors in Berlin?

August 13, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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