Page images
PDF
EPUB

playing a game of draughts, a fox playing a double pipe while animals of the gazelle class strut in front of him, a cat driving geese, and a cat presenting a palm branch to a mouse which is seated on a chair and holding a lotus. Behind the chair is another mouse bearing a fan and a bag with toilet requisites (see pages 27-30). In the reign of Amen-hetep IV, about B.C. 1420, there was a revolt against the conventional forms of painting and sculpture approved by the priests. For about twenty-five years, new designs and new colours were introduced, but they did not find favour among the people generally, and, when the king died, traditionalism promptly reasserted itself, and the new capital which he founded near the modern village of Tell al-Amarna fell into ruin, and its splendours were forgotten.

The sculptured reliefs of the IVth and Vth dynasties, and the statues and portrait figures were in beauty and fidelity rarely equalled in later times, and certainly never surpassed. The chief employers of both painter and sculptor in the later dynasties were the priests, who required statues of gods and kings for the temples; massive strength, an pression of impassibility, and close adherence to existing models

were the traditional

Queen Teta-Khart, about B.c. 1600. characteristics of such works. With [No. 187, Wall-case 102, Third Egyptian Room.] private employers the case was different, for they demanded of the sculptor portrait figures which should be representations of their friends at once faithful and pleasing. Among early portrait figures of fine work in the British Museum may be mentioned the ivory figure of a king, wearing a robe of elaborate pattern (Table-casę No, 197, in the Third Egyptian Room ; see

F

[graphic]

ex

page 24, No.7); the statue of the official Nefer-hi of the Ilird dynasty (No. 150, Wall-case 99, Third Egyptian Room); the statue of Betchmes, of the IIIrd dynasty (No. 3, in the Egyptian Vestibule, see page 110), and the statue of Ankheft-ka, of the IVth dynasty, (Bay 1, No. 33, in the Northern Egyptian Gallery, see page 109).

On the second shelf of Wall-cases 99-109 in the Third

[graphic]

Head of a colossal statue of Ámen-ḥetep III, B.C. 1450. [Northern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 4, No. 416.] Egyptian Room is exhibited a typical series of portrait figures in stone which illustrate the work of the period between the IIrd dynasty and the Roman Period. Special attention may be given to the head of an official No. 186) in crystalline limestone ; the figure of Queen Teta-Kharț, a wife ot' Aāḥmes I, B.C. 1600 (No. 187, see page 113); the portion

[graphic]

Ilead of a stone figure of a priestess of the XVIIIth dynasty. [From the cast, No. 38,430, Wall-case 102, Third Egyptian Room.)

« PreviousContinue »