Uitgelezen Werken

OUDE KUNST: EGYPTE

Reliëf met hoofd van een hoveling

Kopf eines Höflings, Inv.-Nr. 020.004.0018
© Stiftung DKM | Photo: SDKM

Old Kingdom, 5th/6th Dynasty, c. 2450 – 2200 BCE
Limestone, traces of red paint
9.0 x 11.1 x 4.2 cm HWD


In Egypt, the pinnacle of relief carving was during the Old Kingdom. The most striking examples are the tombs of officials at Giza and Saqqara, the so-called Mastabas. Their interiors are covered entirely with reliefs that usually depict scenes from the tomb owner’s daily life. The two- and three-dimensional images of the tomb owner and his family did not have a representative function at that time, but served solely as substitute bodies in which the animated life forces of the deceased, the “Ka”, could temporarily reside. If was therefore possible for the Ka to receive funerary offerings as well as votive wishes and to take part in everyday life.

The small fragment of a courtier facing right is finely worked. The official wears a short curly wig. A line of makeup leading from the outer edge of the eye to the temple is clearly recognisable.

A stylisation of portraiture took place in the realm of private sculpture during the 5th Dynasty and a generally accepted portrayal of the human figure began to assert itself. Egyptian portraiture was still determined by individual features during the 4th Dynasty as can clearly be seen, for example, in the so-called replacement heads from Giza. The representation of humans automatically became standardised during the later Old Kingdom through the serialised production of statuary and opulent tomb decorations. The only indications of individuality were to be found in the names added in hieroglyphic inscriptions.

André Wiese

Literatur

N. Cherpion, La conception de l’Homme à l’Ancien Empire, d’après les bas-reliefs figurant les notables, in: L’art égyptien au temps des pyramides, Paris 1999, 83 – 93. Cherpion, La conception de l’Homme à l’Ancien Empire, d’après les bas-reliefs figurant les notables, in: L’art égyptien au temps des pyramides, Paris 1999, 83 – 93. J. Assmann, Ikonologie der Identität. Vier Stilkategorien der Altägyptischen Bildniskunst, in: Das Bildnis in der Kunst des Orients, (eds. M. Kraatz etc.), Stuttgart 1990, 17 – 36, esp. 20 – 24. Stiftung DKM, Linien stiller Schönheit, Duisburg 2008, S. 32, 33. Stiftung DKM, Ägypten _ Egypt, Duisburg 2011, S. 50 – 51, Kat.-Nr. 18.