Monday, December 15, 2014

News, Luxor: Colossal statue of Amenhotep III unveiled at the King's Funerary Temple on the West Bank of Thebes

Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty, Minister of Antiquities with Tarek Saad El Din, governor of Luxor were at the event to cut the ribbon for official unveiling of The Amenhotep III temple conservation project - the two colossi statues of Amenhotep III at the king's funerary temple yesterday to the public.

Dr. Hourig Sourouzian gave a small speech at the event and she said "The two colossi are originally monolithic sculpture hewn in the red quartzite of Gebel El Ahmar near Ancient Heliopolis, in modern Cairo. After being toppled by an earthquake in 1200 B.C., they laid for centuries broken in several pieces in the fields, where they were threatened by the usual destructive factors irrigation water, salt, vegetation, fire and vandalism.

The two colossi represent King Amenhotep III striding, holding in each hand a roll of papyrus inscribed with his name. The king wears the white crown of upper Egypt and the pleated Shendyt-kilt. A broad collar rendered in shallow relief adorns his chest. The belt around the waist is decorated with a zigzag pattern; better preserved on the East-Colossus the belt has a rectangular clasp bearing the names of the king, "Nebmaat-Re, Amenhotep Ruler of Thebes, beloved of Amon-Re". A dagger with a falcon headed handle in inserted in the belt.

Each of the colossi stand on a rectangular base decorated with fecundity figures brining the offerings to their estates. The back slab is inscribed with the royal titulary and dedication texts to Amon-Re and Ptah-Sokar.

In 2013, by approval of the Permanent committee, the re-erection of the colossi on bedrock, west if the fields was planned and carried out until their original site can be purchased. Once soil analysis and archaeological/geo-radar soundings proved that the ground was free of antiquities, two reinforced concrete foundations were poured to serve as solid pedestals for the colossi.

On 20th of January 2014, work started with the eastern colossus which measures 12.35meters height. It's 71 large parts were gradually reassembled and the numerous smaller fragments were fixed on the body. The colossus was raised in March and unveiled on 24th of March.

On 3rd of November, the new season started with the re-assembly work on the western colossus which was then raised on 2nd of December. Smaller pieces are now being progressively added and finer restoration work is ongoing. This colossus was more fragmented, with more missing parts. It consists 89 large pieces and numerous small fragments which are now assembled. The colossus measures 12.95meters height."

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