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Art of the Old and Middle Kingdom
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nemes

a royal headdress characterized by folds on each side of the forehead and by pleats, two of which fall down on the shoulders and one on the back

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Royal Sculpture of the Middle Kingdom
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When the funerary complex of King Montuhotep the Second of the Eleventh Dynasty, who had his residence in Thebes, was excavated, it brought to light statues of the king. Most of the statues had broken heads. Only one statue of the king was found that was completely preserved. It depicts a king with a strong personality, a heavy body, a majestic appearance, and divine aura.

In the nineteenth century, the discovery of a number of statues at Tanis, the modern San el-Hagar in the east of the Delta, surprised art historians by their unusual forms and facial features.

Their features and artistic style had not been known in Egypt earlier. The unusual appearance of the statues convinced the archaeologists that these sculptures could be attributed to the Hyksos rulers who had built their residence at Avaris, the modern Tell el-Dabaa, in the vicinity of San el-Hagar.

These statues did not have the familiar and traditional idealistic forms and features known in the Old Kingdom and the first half of the New Kingdom. The statues found at Tanis had strange facial features, such as aged and tired faces with high cheekbones and wrinkled cheeks, pouted mouths, and large ears.

Sphinxes were also discovered with lions' manes instead of the usual nemes royal headdress, known from the Great Sphinx at Giza. These sculptures also featured a kind of archaic wig and beard.

Closer examination of the names and features revealed that the original owners of these sculptures were kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, namely Senusert the Third and Amenemhat the Third. The statues had been usurped, or taken as their own, by later kings, such as Panehsy from the Hyksos period, Ramesses the Second and Merenptah from the Nineteenth Dynasty, and Psusennes from the Twenty-First Dynasty. These later kings had carved their names on the statues in the places of the original owners' names.

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Arts and Crafts
Sculpture
Paintings and Relief
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Bust of Amenemhat the Third in Priestly Costume
Bust of Amenemhat the Third in Priestly Costume

Statue of King Montuhotep the Second
Statue of King Montuhotep the Second

Statue of King Senusert the First
Statue of King Senusert the First

Ka Statue of King Auib-Re-Hor
Ka Statue of King Auib-Re-Hor

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