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pi ramses King Khafre




Egyptian art is infamous across the world - classified by the monumental pyramids, and the Sphinx.  Although these are both valid forms of Egyptian art, they do not make up the entire artistic history of the country.  On the contrary, perhaps the most replicated example of classic Egyptian art, from the Old Kingdom, can be found in their rendering of the human form.  An interest in portraiture developed early in Egypt. (Gardner, 75)  Whether painted on pottery, or cut into rock, the figures all had notably Egyptian characteristics.  "The seated statue is one of only a very small number of basic formulaic types employed by the sculptors of the Old Kingdom." (Gardner, 75)
The statue of King Khafre Seated , from the fourth dynasty of the Old Kingdom, 2520 - 2492 BCE, was created by an unknown artist in the smooth permanence of graywacke stone.  Although the statue is currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as number 56 in the Special Egyptian Exhibition, its true home is at the Egyptian Museum, in Cairo.  The man being portrayed, King Khafre,  ruled Egypt for approximately thirty years, during which he commissioned the single most recognizable monuments of Egypt, the a fore mentioned Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx.  These monuments of symmetry and solidity characterize the focus of popular architecture and sculpture from the Old Kingdom in Egypt.
Two main devices used in Egyptian art from the fourth dynasty, that also help classify it, are a strive for naturalism and the use of sculpture in the round.  In addition to the large burial monuments being built, portraiture became quite popular at this time in history.  Paintings featuring humans used their own form of "sculpture in the round" by painting in a composite view.  No matter how contorted a position may be in reality, Egyptian artists worked so that every aspect of the human form was represented.  Another popular form of portraiture was in the form of ka statues of important people like the pharaoh, built to adorn that persons  burial tomb.  In making these funerary statues,
"sculpture in the round served the important function of creating an image of the deceased that could serve as an abode for the ka, should the mummy be destroyed  Thus, too, permanence of style and material was essentialstone was the primary material." (Gardner, 75)  
Thus, the same "permanence" and "sculpture in the round" used for the outside of the pyramids and the guardian Sphinx was also put to work for statues like this one of King Khafre.
This particular ka statue of King Khafre Seated is only one out of the original twenty-three from the pharaohs burial tomb of the valley temple, at Giza. (Met.)  King Khafres reign was one of great royalty and splendor; not only did the pharaoh commission grandiose monuments that extended into the sky, but he also had multiple funerary statues in his likeness built for the use of his ka once he was dead and placed inside valley temple.  Although the individual artists of these ka statues are unknown, they all portrayed Khafre in the same basic way.  This specific artist carved out of dark graywacke in order to capture the naturalistic, yet idealized, form of King Khafre, and, in doing so showcased his own expertise as a craftsman.  
The artist captured the royalty of the king by dressing this nearly life-size replica in the traditional kilt, fake beard, and linen headdress.  "As befitting a divinity, Khafre is shown with a well - developed, flawless body and a perfect face."  This being accomplished through a combination of the accomplished craftsman and the smooth, richness of the dark stone that Khafre is sculpted from.  The statue was built a"canon of ideal proportions, designated as appropriate for the representation of imposing majesty" (Gardner, 75)  Another identifying feature of the pharaoh can be found on the unusually back-less throne that the Khafre figure sits on.  It is decorated "with the sema - tawi, an emblem of unification that combines the hieroglyph sema ("union) with the symbols for the two lands of Egypt - papyrus for the north and a flower for the south."(Met)  Other hieroglyphs are displayed on the front of the throne, by the figures ... more

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ramses II

"Ramses the Great" In the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, Ramses the Great ruled as the greatest pharaoh of all times.  Ramses the Great, also known as Ramses II, or just Ramses, was born in 1304 B.C., and was given the name the Justice of Ray is Powerful. He had the knowledge of the kingdom, and became the focus of the court at an early age. Ramses and his father spent most of their time together, and at age ten, Ramses became heir to the thrown. He took the thrown in the year of 1292 B.C. The pharaoh lived over all other people in the kingdom.  According to historians, the Nile river was the source of life to the Egyptians. The Nile river provided the Egyptian people with water, fish, and fertile soil to grow crops on.  The peasant folk in Egypt lived on a diet of wheat bread, fish, and corn. Also, the death rates there were said to be very high. When Ramses became pharaoh, he got many riches. For example, Ramses had as many women as his
heart desired. The women did everything for Ramses, which includes dancing for him. Ramses II was the most powerful king in all of ancient Egypt, and his Queens were his greatest supporters. Ramses had many wives, but he loved one particular wife the most of all of them. Ramses the Great was also known for his fighting. In 1275 B.C., he went into battle with about 2,000 men. It was about noon on a spring day, and Ramses II was encamped with his army near the city of Kadesh in Syria. He and his army were planning a surprise attack on the Hittites. While Ramses was waiting for his army to assemble, Hittite chariots showed up out of nowhere and attacked.  Frightened, the Egyptian forces fled and left Ramses the Great to face the enemy alone. Luckily, he escaped with his life. Later, Ramses II had scenes from the battle carved on temple was all over Egypt. According to the carvings, Ramses prayed to Amon, the chief Egyptian god, to save him. He said, "My soldiers and charioteers have forsaken me, but I call and find that Amon is worth more to me than millions of foot soldiers and hundreds of thousands of chariots." After that, the carvings show that he rallied his forces and had victory over the Hittites. Furthermore, Ramses II raised many monuments to commemorate all of his victories. Despite their battle, in 1284 B.C., Ramses and the Hittites signed a treaty that set the borders of two empires, which ended the costly struggle between them. Many historians believe that Ramses the Great is the pharaoh that is written about in the Bible. The story that
they think Ramses might be in, is the one where Moses told the pharaoh to let his people go. Other people also think that when Ramses died, he became a god. Ramses spent most of his 67-year reign reviving the empire and fighting the Hittites of Asia Minor. Ramses was 92 years old when he died, and was mummified and put into a temple. The process of mummification took about 70 days. Three of the
four gods are carved in the side of a large temple, and are said to guard Ramses. The fourth god was the god of the underground, so he remains in eternal darkness underground, on the inside of the temple.



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