Category Archives: Written By Students

King Menkure and His Chief Queen

By: Britney Padgett

The sculpture of King Menkure and His Chief Queen is a well-known sculpture created in Ca. 2525 BC.  However, the artist who created this amazing piece of work is unknown. This life-size sculpture was found in a hole below one of the floors in the king’s pyramid in Giza in the year of 1910. The sculpture is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At this time the sculpture is in great condition, considering the time frame in which it was developed. I originally viewed this sculpture in The Western Humanities textbook on page 23. I also viewed several photographs on the web, one of which I included that is located at, http://www.TourEgypt.net/featurestories/fou rtqueens.htm. The sculpture, made of slate, depicts Menkure, who was a 4th dynasty ruler, and his chief queen. Menkure is posed in the usual Egyptian stance with fists clenched wearing a kilt and headdress. His chief queen is posed beside him on his left side in a more natural way. Her arm is rested around him. She is wearing a long garment to the length of her ankles. He and his chief queen are around the same height and size, making them more lifelike.

When looking at the sculpture you may say that it appears to be three dimensional. Both figures seem to pop out at you. The feet are very defined thus adding to this. The dimensionality used allows you to view the sculpture from both the left and right side and the front but not the back. The effect of this dimensionality is a more human, lifelike sculpture.

The sculptures mass is large and lifelike, the sculpture stands 4 feet 8 inches high. Both figures are approximately the same height, however this is odd for the time frame, most male figures were significantly larger than the female, thus showing power over the female. However the height of the chief queen had been thought to reflect her royal status.

The artist in creating this sculpture has used line and form consistent with the Egyptian time frame. The bodies anatomical shapes combined with naturalistic details not only reflect the tastes of Egyptians but also represent a fundamental character of Egyptian culture.  Strong vertical lines and counterbalancing horizontals define King Menkure’s facial features as well as his legs and feet and the chief queen’s breasts and a hint of her stomach. These lines make the sculpture more like a photograph, lifelike, and show archeologists the time period in which the sculpture was created.

The texture of the sculpture, seemingly smooth on the bottom and back whereas the figures seem to be rougher, more textured helps a viewer, such as us, conclude that these figures were of royalty. They stand out and are viewed as strong figures.

Within the sculpture there are many important focal areas. The artist has created many areas of interest. Such as, the stance of the King, with his left foot forward and fists clenched. This shows the kings dominance and strength.  The chief queen is to his left side, which is thought to be inferior to the right. She has her arm around the king’s waist showing she is there to encourage and support. The king’s head is turned a little to the right while the chief queen’s face is frontal, this shows she is presenting him to the world and supplying him with strength and confidence.

I am drawn to this sculpture because of the realistic features of it. I am very impressed with how the artist created both the man and woman at the same height in a time period where men were quite a bit larger than women to show their power. However, the height did not affect how the artist still portrayed the man’s dominance and strength. When I look at this sculpture I am reminded of the words “behind every great man there is a great woman”. This sculpture portrays the role a woman played. She stands beside the man, she encourages and supports him, and supply’s him with confidence and strength. My reaction to the sculpture is that of happiness, this is one of the first sculptures of the time period I have seen that portrays the man and woman as partners and equals.

 

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Willendorf Figurine

Betty Abrams

Professor Taylor

Hum 120

24 January 2012

 

Willendorf Figurine

 

This unnamed figurine of a female was found in Willendorf, Austria. (pg.2) The artist is unknown, however around thirty thousand similar sculptures have been found all over southeastern Europe. It is possible that it may have been a representation of a religious figure such as a Goddess. The statue is kept at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. (pg.4) The image of the figurine in the Western Humanities book on page 4 appears to be in excellent condition. The statue is dated approximately Ca.25, 000 BCE. (pg.4) Today this figurine would be considered as being of an overweight female. The stomach is bulging over the sides of the hips, and the thighs are quiet round. The breasts are enormous and drooping. The hair is in knitted rows around the head and there are no facial features visible. There are traces of red paint left on it so perhaps the facial features may have been painted on instead of carved.

The statue is rather small at a height of only four and three eighths inches tall. The stomach extends wider than the shoulders. The small size would make it easy to pack the figure around. The meticulously straight rows of the tightly knitted hair show the precision and care that the artist took with this carving.

The medium used for this sculpture was limestone. There is pitting visible which lends an interesting texture suggesting normal imperfections of the human form. Ones eye travels smoothly down the form of the statue. The head is neat and circular and then the eye is drawn inward towards the neck. The arms lead down and around to the tops of the breasts which extend down and over the stomach. Then the stomach makes a vee slant towards the privates and the legs.

I have mixed feelings about this statue. I agree with the book on some of the interpretations of the use of such figurines, such as the fact that it was probably used as a religious symbol of a “Mother Goddess”. But I am leaning more to the use for a “bountiful supply of food” instead of the use as a “fertility symbol”. (pg.3) My idea of a fertility symbol would have wider hips instead of a huge stomach. I also believe that very few women would have had such a body as this during the period of time in which this sculpture was made. The amount of work that would have been required for the procurement of food and taking care of one’s family would have meant that only the privileged such as a priestess or goddess could have become so robust.

 

Matthews, Roy T., F. DeWitt Platt, and Thomas F. X. Noble. The Western Humanities. New York: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print

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The bust of Nefertiti

Ashlie Hood

HUM120

Short Essay 1

The bust of Nefertiti

www.smb.museum/smb/kalender/details.php?lang=en&objID=29934&p=24

This is a sculpture of Queen Nefertiti, and she is known as the wife of the famous Pharaoh Akhenaten.  Nefertiti is well known as an equal beside her husband, and is also recognized for her flawless beauty.  The title of this sculpture is Nefertiti’s Bust. It is believed to have been created in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose.  Nefertiti’s Bust was discovered in Amarna, Egypt by an archeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt on December 6, 1912.  The sculpture still exists today and is housed at the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany.

The sculpture is forty-seven centimeters (19 in) tall and is about 20 kilograms (44lbs).  It is made from limestone and stucco.  The left eye is unfinished, reason is unknown.  Originally it was believed that the iris had fallen out, but it was never found in the debris. The right eye is made of quartz and black paint.  Upon her head is a tall blue crown with a gold band, and there was a Uraeus (cobra) on the front which is now broken.  This usually signifies her importance.  She also displays a broad collar with a floral pattern.  The colors in the sculpture are made from different sources. The blue is made from a powdered frit, colored with copper oxide. The skin color is made of fine powdered lime spar colored with red chalk (iron oxide). The yellow is made of orpiment which is an arsenic sulfide.  Green is also made from a powered frit, colored with copper and iron oxide. The black is made of coal and wax, and the white is made of chalk.  In 2006, and CT scan revealed that there was an inner face within the sculpture that had creases around her mouth and a swollen nose.  Another scan revealed wrinkles on her neck and bags under her eyes.

The bust of Nefertiti has been one of the most admired and duplicated sculptures from ancient Egypt.  The smooth lines of her face and neck have given one of the most realistic appearances that were ever discovered during that time.  She has been a symbol of elegance and beauty.  When I look at this sculpture, I see a woman of power, strength, and confidence.  Her beauty is beyond compare and the events during the remainder of her life are unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Neues Museum. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. January 2012 <http://www.smb.museum/smb/kalender/details.php?lang=en&objID=29934&p=0&gt;.

Roy T. Matthews, F. DeWitt, Thomas F. X. Noble. The Western Humanities. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. (pg. 24-25)

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Bust of Nefertiti

By Ashlie Herrell

During 1550-1292 B.C Queen Nefertiti and her King Akhenaton ruled Egypt during the eighteenth century and has become very famous for the bust sculpture found of Nefertiti. There have been many different theories to how Nefertiti was as important as her role as a Queen. Currently the Sculpture of Nefertiti is displayed at Altes Museum in Berlin, Germany. The sculpture was discovered by Ludwig Borchardt on December 6, 1912 in Amarna, Egypt.  The condition of this piece is still in excellent condition as of today. I saw this sculpture in a book called “The Western Humanities”, Chapter 1, and Page 25. The bust sculpture of Nefertiti was believed to be created in 1345 BC around 3,300 years ago, by a sculptor named Thutmose.  The sculpture represents beauty and a real life size bust of Nefertiti. The bust of Nefertiti is a picture but not just a flat picture it is a 3-D picture, it shows the beauty of the Queen and how important she was to have put so much detail in this piece of art.

This piece of art shows a lot of symmetrical dimensions to a real life human would look like but in this case they went the extra mile and made Nefertiti look perfect, sleek and slim. The artist was trying to portray two different looks with Nefertiti. The first was the look as a Queen and as a women figure what the perfect women should look like. The second is there is a portrayal of a goddess some who is magical and is good. The name Nefertiti means “The Beautiful one has arrived”. There has been some research to what the real life Nefertiti really looked like, the bust if Nefertiti they believe has another face underneath the beautiful one. The bust is made up of limestone, gypsum, crystal, and wax. The bust is covered with painted stucco layers.

The sculpture is 19 inches tall and weighs around 44 pounds. The bust of Nefertiti is not in perfect shape but for its age it is doing pretty good. The face of Nefertiti is very smooth and sleek, very detailed with the facial structures and the coloring of the face, lips, eyes and hat. There are some defects to the piece in the face the left eye is either not completed or fell out. There have been some speculations that the Queen could have suffered from some kind of eye disease or didn’t have a left eye. The ears on the bust are breaking off and chips of the paint are flaking off. The size of the bust is like a life size piece and is very dimensional and detailed. The focal point of the art work that catches my eye is the big blue hat that sits on top of her head. It could be the color that catches my attention because my favorite color is blue or just how big it is on her head.

The piece shows so much detail in the lips, eyes, high cheek bones, the shape of the nose, and the fine details of the ears. This is a well example of a bust figure and a real life face and neck. What really caught my attention of this piece is that it is so old and how it has all the perfect features of a woman and how beautiful the work is. It is very appealing to me how the artist was able to use the material he had to create such a beautiful piece of art. There is a sense of pure beauty and elegance with the bust of Nefertiti.

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The Great Mosque of Kairouan

By Richard Robinette

I choose the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia as my architecture piece.  In the textbook “The Western Humanities” chapter eight covers the world of Islam and The Great Mosque is pictured on page 222.  I found this architecture piece to be interesting due to the fact that it was built to call the faithful to pray.  The Islam’s have different types of prayer buildings however the mosque which means “place for bowing down” is the most popular design.  This design was originally established by the Prophet Muhammad who was the founder of the Islam faith.  The first mosque was established in Medina where it was used for many different functions. These functions ranged from religious, judicial, political and social gatherings which showed the basic idea of Islam as the unity of life.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan was built in the ninth century by Emir Abou Ibrahim Ahmad and constructed of stone.  This mosque was built to follow the same pattern that the Prophet himself had designed.  It was rectangular in shape and the exterior walls were plain, this particular building was approximately 395×230’ and the height of the minaret, which is the tower showed in the picture, stands 103’ high.  There are nine gates in which the courtyard can be entered.  The courtyard itself is made of flagstones and properly shaped to drain water at the center of the courtyard.  The courtyard is where the Muslims come to pray.  The minaret is located on the north side and is where the prayer leader resides.  “Around the courtyard are beautiful horseshoe-arched porticoes containing some 400 ancient pillars.  These were reused from Roman, Byzantine, and Latin Christian buildings, and symbols of these former faiths can be seen throughout.”  This structure reflects the basic and simple style of early Islam and is currently being used today.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/tunisia/kairouan-great-mosque

The Western Humanities Seventh Edition Roy T. Matthews, F. DeWitt Platt, Thomas F.X. Noble

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The Dome of the Rock

By Shannon Tucker

The Dome of the Rock is located in the Old City of Jerusalem.  It is located on the Temple Mount.  Caliph Abd al-Malik, built the building in 687 A.C.  He was a well-known ruler who was known for introducing a special currency for the Muslims.  But he is best known for constructing this monument.  Abd al-Malik wanted the Dome to be able to serve as a place for Muslims from the hot and cold weather climate.  He expected the structure to serve as a shrine for pilgrims, but not as a mosque for the public to come and worship.  Yazid Ibn Salam and Raja Ibn Haywah were the engineers in charge of building the Dome.  The Dome of the Rock took seven years to complete.    This structure has tiles with beautiful vibrate color that caught my eye.  This is the reason I choose it.  It is located on page 220 in our textbook.

The Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, and is an example of Byzantine art.  The Dome was plated with 100,000 gold dinar coins.  The shrine is eight sided and is 20.20m in width and 20.48m in height.  Standing in front of this building you would look up and enjoy the ginormous size.  It is shaped as an octagonal set on an elevated drum with 16 piers and columns in a circle shape. The closing around the drum is an arcade of 24 piers and columns.  The exterior was covered with Iznik tiles.  The dome is made of wood, covered by gold.  It was picked to be built on the Temple Mount, because it is a symbol of Islamic belief.  It has theological symbols covering the wall on the inside.  The dome has a symbol of the heavens.  This shows its followers that they are following the right path in their religion.  The Dome stands out in its environment; it is surrounded by smaller, greyish buildings.  The land it was built on was picked on the standards of its faith, however the building around it, conflict with it.  There is no comparison to the detail and foundation of the Dome.   There are inscriptions on the interior of the Dome that go against Christianity.  The inside is decorated with mosaic, faience and marble which is quite excessive.  The exterior and interior are both very lavish and rich in color.

This Dome was built as stated above for people to go to get out of the heat and cold, while also giving a place for spiritual guidance and learning. It provided shelter for the extremely hot days and bitterly cold nights.  In 1955, the government of Jordan began a renovation program of the Dome.  The funding for this project came from the Turkey and Arab government. A lot of tiles had to be replaced due to heavy rain dislodging them.  Although it has had many restorations done, it is still standing today.

The Dome of the Rock is a structure that was built to give hope to Muslims and a place to worship.  It turned into a monument that still stands today and is admired by not only Muslims, but others who want to appreciate its beauty and meaning.  To think that this building was designed in such a primitive time is amazing with all the detail that went in to it.  Non- Muslims are allowed to enter the structure and view its magnificence and meaning.  This says a lot for how far people have come with learning and finding interest in others religion.

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