Friday, July 27, 2012

Bust of a woman

Throughout Egyptians history sculptures played a significant role within burial arrangements. Should the body of the deceased be destroyed, then eternal existence in the afterlife would be impaired or rendered impossible in the deceased in relief old sculptural form could act as substitutes for the body, furthermore, receive the food offerings on behalf of the deceased; they were awaited throughout performance of the Opening of the Mouth ritual. Statues could be sculpted in a wall, placed in closed chambers or displayed in niches.

The bust illustrated derived from the end of this tradition. Although it is freestanding, the lack of finish at the rear indicated that it was made to be from the front and was probably set within a niche; possibly in a tomb chapel. The garments are rendered in a lifeless manner, despite the detailing. The jewelery comprises earrings in the form of rings with acorn-shaped drops, bracelets, a bead necklace and a chain with medallion. There are traces of paint: red in the tunic, brown on the hair and yellow on the jewelery, indicating that it was of gold.

The face generally emotionless, though it has a solemn appearance. and the neck, being cylindrical, is not lifelike. These features, and the static quality of the figure, emphasize its stylized nature. There is a red-painted “L” on the left arm; aspects of the hairstyle have been thought to indicate the owner was a devotee of Isis, but this is unproved.