Khafre Enthroned, 2570 BCE

In the pyramids by the Great Sphinx, many lavish gifts were found, as the pyramids were meant to be the pharaoh’s palace in his afterlife. One of the many things found were diorite statues. The seated and enthroned statue of King Khafre is one of a series of similar statues carved for the pharaoh and placed in his tomb, his pyramid.

The statue itself is carved out of diorite, a very expensive and rare stone at the time. The Egyptians obtained this precious stone from the Neo-Sumerians who lived in Mesopotamia. (this indicates the increasing level of trade occurring between different groups of people during this time period). The pharaoh wears a kilt and sits in a still manner and rigidly in a throne that is made up of two lions. As a symbol of the united Egypt, locus and papyrus leaves are intertwined on the sides of the pharaoh’s throne. Horus, the falcon god is extending his wings over the head of the pharaoh, guiding him and protecting him as well as his authority. Khafre wears the royal false beard and the royal linen, and the cobra on kinship at the front. Like many other depiction of pharaohs, Khafre is depicted with a perfect, idealized body regardless of his age, which is reasonable given that Egyptians worshipped their pharaohs as god kings. Thus, the statue is not a true portrait, nor was it meant to be. The purpose of depicting pharaohs was not to record individual features, but rather to declare the divine nature of Eyptian kingship.

The enthroned pharaoh exudes tranquility. The artist accomplished this by carving the statue in compactness and solidity, with few projecting parts and no negative space. Khafre is connected to the throne and his legs are still attached to his chair. His arms are held close to the torso thighs and his legs are kept close together. The entire figure is bilaterally symmetrical. According to Gardener’s Art Through the Ages, the artist suppressed all movement and with it the notion of time, creating an eternal stillness.

I think is a really interesting sculpture. I think that the artist of this sculpture effectively accomplished the purpose of this work of art: to capture the eternal life of Khafre, a highly-venerated god king. The appearance of the diorite stone used, with its random streak of white/yellow, give the sculpture an interesting and “eternal” look. The details and techniques applied to this sculpture are quite advanced for its time.

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