Sunday, December 3, 2017
A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the goddess Sekhmet has been unearthed at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple on Luxor’s west bank. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet has been uncovered during excavation work at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple at the Kom El-Hettan area on Luxor’s west bank.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian-European archaeological mission led by archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian as part of the King Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the black-granite statues have a maximum height of about two metres. Some statues depict Sekhmet sitting on a throne, holding the symbol of life in her left hand, while others show her standing and holding a papyrus sceptre before her chest. The head of Sekhmet is crowned with a sun-disk, while a uraeus adorns her forehead.
Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the discovery includes many almost complete statues with only the feet and base missing. Those statues that were not buried so deep in the ground are in a good state of preservation, he said.
Others that were found at deeper levels are in a bad condition due to subterranean water and salt, which damaged the surface.
“The sculptures are of a high artistic quality and of the greatest archaeological interest,” Sourouzian said. He said the importance and quality of the statues explains why they survived a period of extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake had toppled the walls and the columns of the temple in 1200 B.C.
Sourouzian pointed out that the statues are now in restoration. They will be cleaned and desalinated, as they were lying in a layer of mud and crushed sandstone.
All statues of the goddess will be placed back in their original setting when the site protection project is completed.
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, pointed to the collaboration between the European mission and the ministry to ensure ongoing excavation work and the completion of the Amenhotep III Temple protect.
The mission began excavation work in 1998, and about 287 statues of Sekhmet have been unearthed since then.
The King Amenhotep III temple is the largest of its kind. It was once a magnificent structure with an unprecedented number of royal and divine statues, among them hundreds of statues of Sekhmet.
Sekhment, whose name means "Powerful One", is one of three figures in the Triad of Memphis sculpture, which also features Ptah and Ramses III.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
|Headless statue of goddess Sekhmet. Photo courtesy of The Colossi of Memnon |
and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project
The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project has discovered a magnificent statue in black granite representing king Amenhotep III seated on the throne.
Project director Hourig Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the statue is 248cm high, 61 cm wide and 110cm deep. It was found in the great court of the temple of Amenhotep III on Luxor's West Bank.
"It is a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian sculpture: extremely well carved and perfectly polished," Sourouzian said, adding that the statue shows the king with very juvenile facial features, which indicates that it was probably commissioned early in his reign.
A similar statue was discovered by the same team in 2009 and is now temporarily on display in the Luxor Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art. When the site's restoration is complete, Sourouzian said, the pair of statues would be displayed again in the temple, in their original positions.
The Left - statue of goddess Sekhmet standing with the papyrus slogan in
her hand. The Right - statue of goddess Sekhmet sitting.
Sourouzian said this series of statues was found during excavation between the ruined temple's Peristyle Court and the Hypostyle Hall, as archaeologists searched for remains of the wall separating the two areas.
"The sculptures are of great artistic quality and of greatest archaeological interest, as they survived extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake toppled the walls and the columns," she told Ahram Online.
A collection of statues depicting goddess Sekhmet in situ.
Photo courtesy of The Colossi of Memnon and
Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project
In his funerary temple particularly, which was called the "temple for millions of years," the great number of these statues was intended to protect the ruler from evil and repel or cure diseases.
"All of these statues of the goddess will be placed back in their original setting as soon as the site is restored," Sourouzian said.
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