Monday, 11 December 2017

Dr Campbell Price – Perfected Forms Functions of Non-Royal Sculpture in the Late Period

Dr Campbell Price – Perfected Forms Functions of Non-Royal Sculpture in the Late Period

Where Rosalie talked about the purpose of the space in a temple Campbell wants to talk the purpose of statues in a temple. His PhD was on rituals through the evidence of statues.

He extensively studied the statues from the Cachette at Karnak. These were found under the court in front of the 7th pylon. They were discovered between 1903 and 1905 by Georges Legrain working under the supervision of Gaston Maspero, and represent the largest find of statuary ever made in Egypt and perhaps anywhere in the world. Some 20,000 artefacts were found including nearly 1000 statues with over half were private statues from the 1 millennium BC. The rest included 17,000 bronzes, wooden statues, offering tables, stele.

These statues are densely inscribed non-royal hard stone statues from 25th to early Ptolemaic period. There is an online website which means anyone can look at the statues and Campbell said it was a model of how to present a museum catalogue.

The Cachette location is the centre of the Karnak complex and this may be significant. Due to the high water table it was described as fishing for status and context was lost, some wooden status did not survive. In fact they had to stop for safety reasons and it may well be there is just as much again to be found. (At another lecture I attended there was some mention that with the dewatering project perhaps it is worth having another go?)

Bernard V. Bothmer studied these statues and a 1930’s label describes the inscriptions as non-interesting!! In fact the inscriptions are very interesting and inform us about two things.

·         Family tree and genealogy information similar to that found at Deir el Medina
·         Historical Art. The stylistic analysis was very subjective. With him saying he could recognise them in real life from their portraits. This assumes realism rather than idealism about the portrait. (Would you show yourself as fat and bald if this was going to be your eternal image)

Campbell thinks there is a third thing we can learn is how the statues were used in the space, the conceptualism. Rosalie told us about the space but without the statues we have an incomplete picture.

What was the motivation of having your statue in the temple rather than in your tomb? It would seem this indicated a level of insecurity about continued offerings at the tomb. By having your statue in the temple you could ensure to receive the continued offerings that took place there. Your statue would get food, drink, and incense, have processions got past, and hear hymns. Some of the inscriptions support this idea “…one of his following..” “…united with the god back against the wall …”

Offerings were present firstly to the god, then to the royal ancestor, then the priest ate them. But private statues could get a small slice of this action. The design of the statues often facilities this with large flat surfaces on which offerings could be laid. However this could cause problems and there are other inscriptions that beg people to dust and clean the statues and remove waste offerings.

By being in the Cachette Court statues were in a key position to still receive offerings even though they were buried.

On type of statue, Naophorous, where the private individual is embracing the shrine of the god or the god himself. This could ensure you got offerings, weren’t damages, and were kept clean. Status of the individual with Osiris are more common than Amun.

Statues are distributed all over Karnak often by doorways or entrances to chapels, places where you might be seen. Some were made by a son to make his family divine, to live again. JE 36728 is an example of archaising the art showing a family group. The inscription says “causing his wife to be young eternally”.

Pediamenope TT33 was an antiquarian and he says “….recite in order to make the monument complete” By having a range of statues of every possible style you could encourage people to visit your statue because it was so unusual. Another inscription said a gift of the king, was this copying an older piece.

Healing statues, these had inscription on them that might cure people. Water would be poured over them and then the water could be drunk and it would magically have the ability to cure AND you could ensure offerings.

An interesting question was asked by Ray Johnson, what were Campbell’s thought on the reason for the Cachette. Obviously another one of these subjects with many views. Campbell thought it was a massive foundation offering.

Campbell has a blog, facebook and twitter

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