Ancient Egyptian statues range in size from the largest one, like the Great Sphinx in Giza, to the statues of gods in tombs to protect the dead. Finally, we see big figures of sculptures and Egyptian statues, either gods or mythical animals, used to protect the entrances of temples and wall reliefs in temples and tombs that tell stories of events of their time.
Kings and wealthy people could have Egyptian statues of the most talented artists of their time. The quality and details of the materials used are always a sign of power or wealth. For example, the Seated Egyptian statue of Nehy can tell she was a wealthy woman and importat not only because she has a statue created for a tomb but because of her hairstyle and dress.
Another example of the Egyptian statues is “The Statue of Chai-hapiof” fine craftsmanship used in a statue of someone, as he was a famous courtier in the second half of the 19th dynasty. The statue of Chai-hapi also explains the importance of the gods in Ancient Egyptian times as he is shown holding a large Djed of a sistrum of Hathor’s head used in celebrations to honor the goddess.
Ancient Egyptian statues and sculptures were in homes, tombs or other buildings, showing their loyalty to these Gods and Goddesses and for protection, wealth, happiness and good in life. Much of the surviving sculpture is funerary, for example, statues for tombs. However, many Egyptian statues were made for putting in temples—votive for private persons and rituals for royal and divine representations. For instance, royal colossi were ritual and served to announce the majesty and power of the king.
What are the 3 Interesting Types of Egyptian Statues?
There are many other examples of Egyptian statues; this article is going to categorize those statues into 3 interesting types, these types are:
- Egyptian Cat Statues
- Egyptian Dog Statues
- Egyptian God Statues
Egyptian Cat Statues:
Bastet (Goddess of Fertility)
Cats were essential to the ancient Egyptians and even considered demi-deities. Not only did they guard the crops and delay the spread of disease by killing rodents, but they were also considered to be the physical form of the goddess Bastet. Bastet was the goddess of fertility, protection, pleasure and good health.
Bastet was a real example of the art of Egyptian statues, she had the head of a cat and a slim female body. She was the daughter of Ra, the sister of Sekhmet, Ptah’s wife, and Mihos’s mother. Since the Second Dynasty, Bastet was worshipped as a deity, most commonly in Lower Egypt. However, her form and powers varied over the years.
Ancient Egyptians believed Bastet would accompany her father, Ra ( the sun god), and observe and protect him. Then, at night, she would transform into a cat to guard Ra against his greatest enemy, the serpent Apep. People gave her beautiful names for her protection power, like the goddess of the rising sun, the lady of the east, the goddess of the moon and the eye of Ra.
Sakhmet (Goddess of War)
Sekhmet is the god of war; her name means: “who is powerful” or “Ma’at lover”, and she was the goddess of the hot desert sun, chaos, plague, war, and healing. When he examined the earth, she was made of fire from the sun god Ra’s eye. Ra created her to destroy humans for their disobedience and for not following the rules of Ma’at.
Sekhmet was displayed with a woman’s body with a lion head with a sun disk. She was also seen as the pharaoh’s protector and led them in warfare. Sekhmet was a terrifying goddess; however, she could prevent and cure diseases for her friends. She was a supporter of physicians and healers.
The ancient Egyptians considered that Sekhmet had a cure for every issue. So they gave her food and drink, played music, and burned scent to stay on her good side. In addition, they would tell their prayers in the ears of cat mummies and then offer them to Sekhmet. They believed this was a direct connection to the deities and that their prayers would be answered.
Egyptian Dog Statues
Anubis (the God of Death, Mummification, Embalming, and the Afterlife)
Anubis is the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, performed by a dog or a head of a dog with a man’s body. In the Early Dynastic period, he enjoyed a unique position as lord of the dead, but Osiris later overshadowed him. His concern was with the funerary followers and the respect of the dead people; thus, he had a reputable role to be the creator of embalming. Although later, he took the part of the “conductor of souls,” and the Greco-Roman world sometimes identified him with the Greek Hermes in the combined deity Hermanubis.
Egyptian God Statues
There are many Egyptian God Statues; this article will describe only 5 of them as follows:
Hathor (Goddess of the Sky, Women and Love)
Hathor is a famous ancient goddess, admiringly loved and worshipped throughout Egypt. She was the goddess of love, joy, motherhood, dance, and beauty. She also greeted the dead spirits in the afterlife, nourishing them with drinks and food. According to an ancient Egyptian myth, Hathor was a sky goddess. That’s why she was correlated to the sky, the motion of planets, birth, and rebirth after death. Hathor and Horus-Behdety were married and got a son called “Ihy,” the deity of music and dancing.
Hathor means “the House of Horus,” recognised as the wife of the god Horus and the mother of the Pharaohs. She was one of the popular deities with different characters, most notably the queen of Egypt. However, it is also considered that she was the daughter of the sun god Ra of Heliopolis.
Isis (Goddess of the Love, Healing and Magic)
Isis, the goddess of recovery and magic, was essential to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs; the ancient Egyptians called her Aset. Her name means “Queen of the Throne”, which is imaged in her crown, which is commonly a throne. Sometimes she is also pictured with the crown of the goddess Mut, and sometimes with a disk with horns belonging to the goddess Hathor.
Isis had so many different powers; she was the guardian of women and the bringer of magic. Isis was a secondary character to her husband Osiris; however, she became the Queen of the Universe and the ideal of the Heavenly order after thousands of years of worship. Romans believed she could control the power of fate itself.
Thoth (God of the Moon)
Thoth was the god of the moon, sciences, magic, sacred texts, mathematics, messenger and recorder of the gods, master of knowledge, and patron of scribes. He was described as a baboon.
According to Egyptian myth, Thoth was born from Ra’s lips at the beginning of creation and was named “god without a mother.” That means Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time, and then he lays the cosmic egg that holds all creation. He was consistently associated with Ra and divine order and justice.
Thoth was the creator of the art of writing, the calendar, and managing space and time. He was also the god of the moon; he had celestial roles and switched the sun god Ra’s place at night in the sky. Thoth was responsible for recording the judgment of the heart-weighing ceremony that decided if the person could continue to the Afterlife. They passed if the person’s heart balanced with Ma’at’s Feather of Truth. However, if the heart was heavier than that feather, the person did not pass. Thoth always guided the deities, regulated common everyday complaints, and created new laws. Thoth proposed that if any problem couldn’t be solved, a group should get together as a community and discuss it.
Seth (God of War, Chaos and Storm)
Seth was the god of war, chaos, violence, and storms. In Osiris’s myth, he killed Osiris (in some versions of the tale, he cheats Osiris into lying down in a coffin and then locks it.
Seth’s impression poses a hardship for Egyptologists. He is often pictured as a human with a head of an animal or as an animal. But no one can tell what animal he’s supposed to be. He usually has a long nose and long ears squared at the tips. He has a thin dog-like body with a straight tail and a tuft in his completely animal form. Many scientists now believe that no such animal ever existed and that the Seth animal is some build-up myth.
Ptah (The Creator God)
Ptah was the head of a trio of gods worshipped at Memphis. The other two trio members were Ptah’s wife, goddess Sekhmet, and Nefertem, who may have been their son. Ptah’s earliest association seems to have been with artisans and builders.
What Were Egyptian Statues Made Of?
Egyptian artists used a vast collection of local and imported materials early in their history while making Egyptian statues. In addition, there were numerous native stones used for sculpture, like the ubiquitous soft limestone of the desert cliffs found in the Nile valley and sandstone. And harder stones like quartzite, diorite, granite, and basalt.
There are many materials like:
There were multiple native stones used for The Egyptian statues. Hard stones like quartzite, diorite, granite, basalt, and soft stones were done using copper chisels and stone tools; hard stones needed tools of yet more burdensome. Finally, polishing was completed with a smooth rubbing stone and abrasive sands with fine grit.
Most sculptures were painted. For example, Osiris, the restored god of the dead, was shown with black or green skin, referring to the Nile valley’s fertile silt and lush vegetation.
These images maintain traces of red paint on the king’s skin, revealing that when completed and placed in his memorial temple near his pyramid. However, with time, the paint would have flaked away, revealing the black stone underneath and explicitly linking the deceased king with the Lord of the Underworld.
Egyptians used various kinds of wood in their work, “especially making Egyptian statues”, including the native acacia, tamarisk, sycamore fig, cedar, fir, and other conifers imported from Syria. In addition, Egyptian Artists mastered puzzling together small, irregular pieces of wood and collecting them into place to create sculptures, coffins, boxes, and furniture.
Egyptian artists also used various metals, like copper, bronze, gold, and silver. For example, followership statues of gods were made in gold and silver, materials recognised by myth as their skin and bones. Unfortunately, very few metal statues survived as they were melted down and the material reused. However, the Old and Middle Kingdom examples demonstrate that they were skilled in sheet metal forming and practised complex casting.
Jewelry work was quite sophisticated even in the Old Kingdom, as established by some highly creative pieces represented in tomb settings. A cache of royal jewelry from the Middle Kingdom princesses shows exceptional skill levels.
Pigments in Egypt came from native minerals. For example, white was made of gypsum, bright yellow from orpiment, reds and yellows from iron oxides, black from carbon and blue or green from azurite and malachite. These minerals were smoothed and blended with plant or animal-based glue to attach to the walls. They could be used as a single plane but were also layered sometimes to create subtle effects and different colors, such as pink or grey.
In the end, Ancient Egyptians created extraordinary art, which many artists and scientists are fascinated by. First, Egyptians used stones, wood, metals and colors to create a culture that tells us they were here. Then, they used those materials to create statues at homes and tombs for religious beliefs.
There were many Egyptian statues in many shapes; they presented Gods in all forms; sometimes, these statues were in a shape of an animal like cats, dogs and falcons, and other times it was a mix between an animal head and a human body. All these statues were for protecting Egyptians and giving them good life, wealth and happiness.
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