As you make your way down from Floor 1, you now enter the Gallery of the Kings….
Most of the collection here was brought from Thebes by Jean-Jaques Rifaud on the orders of Drovetti.
At first glance Egyptian statues look alike, static and almost rigid. They all have the same proportions and features such as hairstyle, positions and attributes, but this is not because of the lack of imagination moreover a decision by the sculptures who believed that the essence of the depicted god or person actually inhabited the statue.
Above, Sandstone Sphinx, New Kingdom 19th Dynasty (1292 – 1250BC) Karnak
The Pharaoh and Queen could be depicted as sphinxes. By associating their human face with the body of the lion, the Egyptians combined the strength of the animal, which was connected to the sun god, with human intelligence.
The statue of King Horemheb and his wife Mutnedjemet, right, from the 18th Dynasty (1319 – 1292BC) made of Granodiorite. It depicts the queen playing her role as Hathor protecting the sun god, she embraces her husband.
The Pharaoh whose head and shoulders are now missing, holds in his right arm, folded across the chest, an ankh symbolising life.
The Statues of Ptah
Here is a statue of the god Ptah, limestone, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1390 – 1353BC). Large statues of gods were not common, as most were made as part of exceptional building programs. The most imposing of these was two statues of Ptah, which were probably made to promote Amenhotep III’s “Temple of Million of Years” at Karnak.
Opposite statue, Granodiorite, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1390 – 1353BC). This official portrait of Amenhotep III can be recognised in the face of the statue, youthful, almost feminine, with full cheeks and a broad smile.
The large almond shaped eyes are especially characteristic, as are the lips.
The Statue of Sethi II
A striking example of monumental sculptue is this colossus which expresses the stability and strength of the king through its solid rendering of the subject’s masculature and its geometric volumes and contours.
Made of Sandstone, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1202 – 1198BC) during the reign of Sethi II. Sethi’s left leg is forward to show his capability to walk and act. He holds a standard with a figure of the god Amun at the top.
The Statue of Rameses II
Left, Granodiorite, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1279 – 1213BC) Karnak, Temple of Amun.
This statue depicts Ramesses II, one of the most famed Pharaohs. This stylistic statue shows the evolution of the royal portrait; the tunic is probably similar to one he actually wore and he wears sandals and the pierced earlobes are a detail introduced in Amarnian art. Depicted on a throne he smiles to his subjects veneration and bears the insignia of his power. His wife, Nefertari and his son Amunherkhepeshef, are on his either side of his legs, but on a much smaller scale.
The many statues of the Goddess Sekhmet.
The museum has many Sekhmet statues, most were discovered in the temple of Mut at Karnak (eastern Thebes). It is possible that even during Amenhotep III’s reign, these statues of Sekhmet were installed in several temples.
These statues were used for daily rites which allowed the king to regenerate and ensure the equilibrium of the cosmos for eternity.
Sekhmet represented a solar deity sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra. She bears the Solar disk and the uraeus (snake) and was depicted as a lion-headed woman.
The Statues of Tuthmosis I and III
Both statues show the Pharaoh wearing the shendyt kilt, the nemes headdress. and the uraeus cobra on their foreheads. Between the legs is the bull tail, attached to the belt behind the back, a symbol of power.
The Statue of Horemheb with the god Amun
Limestone, New Kingdom 18th Dynasty (1319 – 1292BC) Reign of Horemheb.
Horemheb stands behind the God Amun, who is taller to indicate that he is more important than the Pharaoh himself. The style of the statue is typical of the period following the reign of Akhenaten.
Other statues and photos: