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recognize a phase of art earlier than the Second Empire. But if
the first mentioned figure recalls, by its features and the manage-
ment of the hair, the sculptures in stone of the fifth and sixth
dynasties, the second cannot, perhaps, be referred to quite such an
early period. In the latter the vertical line of the back and right
leg slopes slightly forward, betraying an attempt to express
movement ; the dorsal line of the first figure is, on the other hand,
quite perpendicular.

** Even in the photographs certain details are visible, such as
the form of the hair, the features, the rendering of the anatomical
contours, which denote a school anterior to that of the eighteenth
dynasty.

^ Catalogue of the Posno Collection, No. 468.
2 Ibid,, No. 524.



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Fig. i8o. — Bronze statuette. One foot seven inches high. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.



VOL. II. D D



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202 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

** Egypt, then, was first in the field in bronze casting, as she
was in stone and wood carving. One at least of the Posno
statuettes carries us so far back in the history of humanity that it is
difficult to see where we can look for earlier works of art, especially
of so advanced a style. We have already ascertained that the first
named of these two figures is far superior, both in style and
modelling, to the Asiatic canephorus of Afadj,^ a work which
was dedicated to a goddess by a king, and must therefore be
considered a good example of the art of Western Asia."

We agree with M. de Longperier in all but one point, and that
one as to which he is careful not to commit himself. According to
him the second figure is later than the sixth dynasty and earlier
than the eighteenth, so that it would belong to the first Theban
Empire. But we do not see why, supposing the Egyptians of
the Ancient Empire capable of making the first figure, they should
not have made the second. Between the two statuettes there
are but slight differences of handling, differences much the same
as those to be found in the wooden and stone statues which we
have already mentioned. Neither the artists nor their sitters
had quite the same capabilities.

The technical skill shown in these bronzes is extraordinary.
The most ancient Etruscan and Greek bronzes are solid castings,
on the base of which are rough protuberances, sometimes of
considerable length, resulting from the fact that the metal was
allowed to solidify in the orifice by which it was poured into the
mould. Here there is nothing of the kind. No imperfection in
the mechanical part of the work is allowed to interfere with its
artistic effect. The casting is light, hollow, and in one piece ;
the method employed must have been excellent in itself and
thoroughly understood.^ They also understood how to add finish
by chasing the metal after its relief from the mould. The small
circular ornaments on the chest of the second figure, ornaments
which are so delicate in execution that they could not be re-
produced in our engraving without giving them too much



^ De Longperier, Musee NapoUon III, pi. i.

2 M. Pisani, who mounted the numerous bronzes in M. Posno's collection,
assures me that their insides are still filled with the core of sand around which they
were cast. The outward details of the casting are repeated inside, showing that
the method used was what we osXifonte att carton.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 203

importance, and the hieroglyphs cut in the same figure, are
instances of this.

That so few bronze statuettes have come down to us seems
to show that the use of the metal by sculptors was quite
exceptional. They used wood far more than bronze, and stone
more than wood. Most of the sepulchral statues are cut in soft
limestone (see Figs. 6, 49, 88, 89, Vol. I., and Fig. 172, Vol. II.).
Sometimes these statues are isolated, sometimes they form family
groups, often consisting of father, mother, and children.

Statues of men are the most numerous. Differences between
one and another are many and frequent, but they are, on the
whole, less striking than the points of resemblance. Here we
find a head bare, there enveloped in either a square or rounded
wig. The bodies are never completely nude, and the garment
which covers their middles is arranged in a variety of ways.
Fashions, both for men and women, seem to have changed in
Egypt as elsewhere. In the statues ascribed to the last dynasties
of the Ancient Empire the national type seems more fixed and
accentuated than in earlier works. These funerary statues are the
portraits of vigorous and powerful men, with broad shoulders, well-
developed pectoral muscles, thin flanks and muscular legs. Ra-
nefer, priest of Ptah and Sokar, stands upright, his arms by his
sides, and each hand grasping a roll of papyrus (Fig. 181).^ A
dagger is passed through the belt of his drawers.

The person represented in Fig. 182 is distinguished from
Ra-nefer by the fashion in which he wears his hair and by his
costume. His loose skirt is arranged in front so as to form a
kind of triangular apron. This peculiar fall of the garment was
obtained by the use of starch and an instrument similar to our
flat-iron. It is better seen in the statue of Ti, the great personage
to whose gorgeous tomb we have so often referred.^ The
Albanians obtain the curious folds of their kilts in the same
fashion.^ Ti wears a periwig of a different kind from that of

^ A sketch of this statue also appears on page 10, Vol. I. Fig. 6 ; but as, accord-
ing to Mariette, it is one of the best statues in the Boulak Museum, we have thought
well to give it a second illustration, which, in spite of its smaller scale, shows the
modelling better than the first.

2 Notice des principaux Monuments du Musee de Boulak^ No. 24.

* Wooden instruments have been found which were used for the pleating of linen
stuffs. One of these, which is now in the museum of Florence, is figured in
Wilkinson {Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 185). The heavy and symmetrical



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204 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

Ra-nefer. The Egyptians shaved their heads from motives
of cleanliness. The priests were compelled to do so by the
rules of their religion, which made purity of person even more
imperative upon them than upon the laymen. It was necessary,
however, that the head should be thoroughly protected from the
sun, hence the wig. The shaved Mohammedans of our day
replace the periwig with the turban.



Fig. i8i. — Ra-nefer. Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.

One wooden statue at Boulak offers a variety of costume which
is at present unique among the remains of Egyptian civilization.
It is, unfortunately, in very bad preservation. It represents a
man, standing, and draped in an ample robe which covers him

folds which are thus obtained are found, as we shall see, in the drapery of Greek
statues of the archaic period.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 205

from head to foot. His right arm is free ; it is held across the
body, and meets the left hand, which is thrust through an opening
in the robe. The place where this statue was found, the material
of which it consists, and the character of the workmanship, all
combine to prove that it is a production of the early dynasties
(Fig. 184).^



Fig. 182.— Statue in the Boulak Fig. 183.— Statue of Ti. Boulak.

Museum. Drawn by Bourgoin. Drawn by Bourgoin.

A few kneeling statues have also been found. The anonymous
personage whose portrait is reproduced in Fig. 185 is upon his
knees. His clasped hands rest upon his thighs. His eyes are
inlaid ; they are formed of numerous small pieces skilfully put
together.^

There is no less variety in those groups where the sculptor has

» Notice du Muske de Boulak, No. 770. ^ Ibid,, No. 769.



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2o6 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

been charged to represent a whole family reunited in the tomb.
Sometimes the husband is sitting and the wife standing. She has
her left arm round his neck, the left hand resting on his left
shoulder, while with her right hand she holds his right arm
(Fig. 88, Vol. I.). Sometimes a father and mother are seated
upon the same bench, but here too the woman confesses her de-
pendence on, and shows her confidence in, her master by the same



Fig. 184. — Wooden statue, Boulak. Fig. 185.— Statue in limestone, Boulak.

Drawn by Bourgoin. Drawn by Bourgoin.

affectionate gesture (Fig. i86). Both are of the same height, but
between them, and leaning against the bench upon which they are
seated, appears their child, quite small. His gesture is that to
which the Egyptian artist has recourse when he wishes to express
early childhood (Fig. 187). We also find the husband and wife
standing erect in front of a slab ; the relation which they bear to
each other is here also indicated by the position of the woman's



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 207

arms (Fig. 188).^ Sometimes the woman is altogether absent
(Fig. 89, Vol. I.). The head of the family is placed by himself, on
a raised seat. In front of this seat, and hardly reaching to their
father's knees, are two children, boy and girl, the boy holding the
right leg, the girl the left. The boy has the lock of hair pendent



Fig. 186. — Limestone group in the Louvre. Height twenty-eight inches. Drawn by

Saint- Elme Gautier.

over the right ear, which, like the finger in the mouth, is a sign of
tender years. He is nude ; the girl is dressed in an ornamental robe
reaching to her ankles. There is a piquant contrast between these
two tender little bodies with their childish heads, and the virile
power. of the father and protector who towers so high above them.

^ Notice^ No. 793. These two people were called Nefer-hotep and Tenteta.
The latter is also described as related to Pharaoh,



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2o8 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.



These limestone groups do not, as a rule, appear to have been
executed with any great care. Their makers do not seem to have
taken much pains to give them an individuality of their own ; but
in spite of this feebleness of execution, they please by their



Fig. 187.— Wooden statuette^ Boulak. Fig. 188. — Nefer-hotep and Tenteta.

Drawn by Bourgoin. Boulak.



composition. They are well arranged, their attitudes are simple
and their gestures expressive. As a whole they have an air of
calmness and repose which is thoroughly in accord with the ideas
of the Egyptians on the question of life and death.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 209

From the same Memphite tombs many limestone statues have
been recovered, representing, not the defunct himself, but those
who mourn his decease and the crowd of retainers attached to
his person. All these are expected to carry on their labours for



Fig. 189. — Limestone statue, Boulak. Fig. 190. — Limestone statue, Boulak.

Drawn by Bourgoin. Drawn by Bourgoin,

his benefit and to be ready to satisfy his wants through all
eternity. Here we find one seated upon the ground, his hand
upon his head in sign of grief (Fig. 189).^ There a young man,
completely naked, advancing with a sack upon his left shoulder
which falls down to the centre of his back. He carries a bouquet

1 Notice du Muske de Boulak^ No. 768.
VOL. II. E E



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2IO A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

of flowers in his right hand (Fig. 190).^ A man seated upon the
ground holds a vase between his knees, into which he has plunged
his right hand (Fig. 191).^ Another bends over a wide-mouthed
jar of mortar in which he is mixing flour and water (Fig. 192). A
young woman, in a similar attitude, is occupied over the same
task (Fig. 193). Other women are rolling the paste thus obtained
on a plank, or rather upon a stone slab, before which they kneel
upon the ground. The muscular exertion necessary for the
operation is rendered with great skill (Figs. 193 and 194).* Women
are still to be encountered at Elephantine and in Nubia, wearing



Fig. 191. — Limestone statue, Boulak. Fig. 192. — Limestone statue, Boulak.

Drawn by Bourgoin. Drawn by Bourgoin.

the same head-dress and carrying out the same operation in the
same attitude and with exactly similar utensils. We reproduce
two sketches by M. Bourgoin, which show the details of this head-
covering, which, among the women of the lower orders, supplied the
place of the wig ; it consists of a piece of stuff held upon the head
by a ribbon knotted at the back of the neck (Figs. 196 and 197).

^ Notice^ No. 771. This is the person represented in profile in Fig. 47, Vol. I.

2 Notice, No. 766.

3 The four last quoted figures belong to the series noticed in the Boulak Catalogue
under numbers 757 to 764. The statue reproduced in Fig. 197 has been already
shown in profile in Fig. 48, Vol. I.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire.



211



Mariette brought all these figures to Paris in 1878, where they
excited the greatest interest among artists and archaeologists.
They were eminently well fitted to enlighten those who are able
to see and to do away with many rooted prejudices. What an
abyss of difference they showed between Egyptian art as it used to
be defined some thirty years ago and the reality. The stiffness
and rigidity which used to be so universally attributed to the pro-
ductions of the sculptors of Memphis and Thebes, were forgotten




Fig. 193. — Woman kneading dough, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.

before their varied motives and free natural attitudes. The whole of
these works, in fact, are imbued with a spirit which is diametrically
opposed to the unchanging inflexibility which used to be con-
sidered the chief characteristic of Egyptian art. They are
distinguished by an extraordinary ease of attitude, and by that
curious elasticity of body which still remains one of the most
conspicuous physical qualities of the race.

** The suppleness of body which distinguished the female fellah



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212 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

is marvellous. She rarely sits down. When she requires rest
she crouches with her knees in the air in an attitude which
we should find singularly fatiguing. So too with the men. Their
habitual posture corresponds to that shown on the steles : the
knees drawn up in front of the face to the height of the nose, or
on each side of the head and level with the ears. These attitudes
are not graceful, but when the bodies thus drawn together are
raised to their full height they are superb. They are, to borrow
a happy expression of Fromentin, * at once awkward and magni-
ficent ; when crouching and at rest they look like monkeys ; when
they stand up they are living statues.' ** ^



Fig. 194. — Woman making bread, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.

This early art never carried its powers of observation and its
exactitude of reproduction farther than in the statue of Nem-hotep,
which we show in full-face and profile in Figs. 198 and 199.
Whether we call him, with Mariette, a cook, or, with Maspero, a
master of the wardrobe or keeper of perfumes, it cannot be doubted
that Nem-hotep was a person of importance. One of the fine
tombs at Sakkarah was his. He certainly did not make his way
* Gabriel Charmes, Cinq mois au Caire^ p. 96.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire.



213



at court by the graces of his person. He was a dwarf with all the
characteristics that distinguish those unlucky beings. His head
was too large, his torso very long, his arms and legs very short ;
besides which he was marvellously dolichocephalic.



Fig. 195. — Bread maker, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.

The sincerity of Egyptian art is conspicuously shown in its
treatment of the foot. Winckelmann noticed that the feet in
Egyptian statues were larger and flatter than in those of Greece.





Figs. 196, 197. — Details of head-dresses.

The great toes are straight, no articulations being shown. The
second toe is always the longest, and the little toe is not bent in
the middle but straight like the others. These peculiarities spring
from the Egyptian habit of walking bare-foot on the Nile



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2/4 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

mud ; they are very strongly marked in the feet of the modern
fellah.^

The general characteristics of these works in the round are
repeated in the bas-reliefs of the mastabas at Gizeh and Sakkarah.
Of these we have already given numerous illustrations ; we shall
therefore be content with reproducing one or two which are more
than usually conspicuous for their artistic merit.



Figs. 198, 199. — Nem-hotep ; limestone statue at Boulak.

The sculptures of Wadi-maghara and the wooden panels from
the Tomb of Hosi are enough to prove that work in relief was
as old in Egypt as work in the round. In the mastabas sculptures
in low-relief served to multiply the images of the defunct. He is
figured upon the steles which occupy the principal wall, as well as
in various other parts of the tomb. Sometimes he is shown seated

* Wilkinson, Manners and Customs^ vol. ii. p. 270.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire.



217



before the table of offerings (Fig. 200), sometimes standing upright
(Figs. 57 and 1 20, Vol. I.). But the sculptor did not restrict himself
to these two motives. In the preparation and presentation of the
funeral gifts he found many themes, to which he was able to give
more or less development according to the space at his command.
Even in the earliest attempts that have come down to us, the
Egyptian sculptor shows a complete grasp of the peculiar features
of the domesticated animals of the country. Men accustomed to
the careful study of the human figure could make light of render-
ing those of beasts, with their more striking distinctions between
one species and another. In the time when the oldest existing
tombs were constructed, the ass was already domesticated in
Egypt. Then as now, he was the most indispensable of the




FlG. 20i.~Bas-reIief from the Tomb of Ti, Sakkarah.

servants of mankind. There were, in all probability, as many
donkeys in the streets of Memphis under Cheops as there are now
in Cairo under Tewfik. Upon the walls of the mastabas we see
them trotting in droves under the cries and sticks of their drivers
(Fig. 201), we see the foals, with their awkward gait and long
pricked ears, walking by the sides of their mothers (Fig. 202), the
latter are heavily laden and drag their steps ; the drivers brandish
their heavy sticks, but threaten their patient brutes much oftener
than they strike them. This is still the habit of those donkey
boys, who, upon the Esbekiehy naively offer you ** M. de Lesseps'
donkey." The bas-relief to which we are alluding consists only of
a slight outline, but that outline is so accurate and full of character,
that we have no difficulty in identifying the ass of Egypt, with his
graceful carriage of the head and easy, brisk, and dainty motion.

VOL. II. F F



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2l8



A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.



The same artists have figured another of the companions of man
with equal fidelity ; namely, the deep-sided, long-tailed, long-horned,
Egyptian ox. Sometimes he lies upon the earth, ruminating
(Fig. 29, Vol. I.) ; sometimes he is driven between two peasants, the
one leading him by a rope, the other bringing up the rear with a
stick held in readiness against any outburst of self-will (Fig. 203). In
another relief we see a drove advancing by the side of a canal,
upon which a boat with three men is making way by means of pole
and paddle. One herdsman walks in front of the oxen, another
marches behind and urges them on by voice and gesture (Fig. 204).
In another place we find a cow being milked by a crouching
herdsman. She seems to lend herself to the operation in the




Fig. 202. — Bas-relief from the Tomb of Ti, Sakkarah.

most docile manner in the world, and we are inclined to wpnder
what need there is of a second herdsman who sits before her nose
and holds one of her legs in both his hands. The precaution,
however, may not be superfluous, an ox-fly might sting h^r into
sudden movement, and then if there was no one at hand to
restrain her, the milk, which already nears the summit of the pail,
might be lost (Fig. 30, Vol. I.).

By careful selection from the sepulchral bas-reliefs, we might,
if we chose, present to our readers reproductions of the whole
fauna of Ancient Egypt, the lion, hyena, leopard, jackal, fox,
wolf, ibex, gazelle, the hare, the porcupine, the crocodile, the
hippopotamus, the different fishes in the Nile, the birds in the



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 219



marshes, the flamingo, the ibis, duck, stork, crane, and goose, the
dog and the cat, the goat and the pig. Everywhere we find the
same aptitude for summarizing the distinctive characteristics of



Fic. 203. — Sepulchral bas-relief, Boulak.

a species. This accuracy of observation has been recognized
by every connoisseur who has treated the subject. ** In the
Boulak Museum," says M. Gabriel Charmes, ** there is a row



Fig. 204.— Bas-relief from the Tomb of Ra-ka-pou, Boulak.

of Nile geese painted with such precision, that I have seen a
naturalist stand amazed at their truth .to nature and the fidelity
with which they reproduce the features of the race. Their



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220 A History of Art in Ancient Egypt.

colours, too, are as bright and uninjured as upon the day when
they were last touched by the brush of the artist."^

The figures of men and animals to which our attention has been
given all belong to the domain of portraiture. The artist imitates
the forms of those who sit to him and of the animals of the
country ; he copies the incidents of the daily life about him, but his
ambition goes no farther. All art is a translation, an interpretation,
and, of course, the sculptors of the mastabas had their own
individual ways of looking at their models. But they made no
conscious effort to add anything to them, they did not attempt to
select, to give one feature predominance over another, or to
combine various features in different proportions from those found
in ordinary life, and by such means to produce something better
than mere repetitions of their accidental models. They tried
neither to invent nor to create.

And yet the Egyptians must have begun at this period to give
concrete forms to their gods. In view of the hieroglyphs of
which Egyptian writing consisted, we have some difficulty in
imagining a time when the names of their deities were not each
attached to a material image with well marked features of its own.
To write the name of a god was to give his portrait, a portrait
whose sketchy outlines only required to be filled in by the sculptor
to be complete. Egypt, therefore, must have possessed images of
her gods at a very early date, but as they were not placed in the
tombs they have disappeared long before our day, and we are
thus unable to decide how far the necessity for their production
may have stimulated the imaginative faculties of the early sculptors.
In presence, however, of the Great Sphinx at Gizeh, in which we
find one of those composite forms so often repeated in later
centuries, we may fairly suspect that many more of the divine
types with which we are familiar had been established. The
Sphinx proves that the primitive Egyptians were already bitten
with the mania for colossal statues. Even the Theban kings
never carved any figure more huge than that which keeps watch
over the necropolis of Gizeh (Fig. 157, Vol. I.). But Egj'pt had
other gods than these first-fruits of her reflective powers, than those

^ Gabriel Charmes, La Rhrganisation du Musee de Boulak {Revue des Deux
Mondes^ September i, 1880). He is speaking of the fragment which is numbered
988 in the Notice du Musie. According to Mariette it dates from a period anterior
to Cheops. It was found near the statues of Ra-hotep and Nefert.



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Sculpture under the Ancient Empire. 221

mysterious beings who personified for her the forces which
had created the world and preserved its equilibrium. She had
her kings, children of the sun, present and visible deities who
maintained upon the earth, and especially in the valley of the
Nile, the ever- threatened order established by their divine
progenitors. Until quite recently it was impossible to say for



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