Thursday, November 11, 2010

Menkaure and Wife

Sticking with the theme of permanence in Egyptian sculpture, these two figures of the king and queen are unrealistic in their rigid stance. Though in contraposto, their hips lack a slant indicating a comfortable and easy to maintain posture. These two are presented as idealized human forms. The Pharaoh was to represent the best of his people and to be young and fit at all times. Whether or not they actually maintained this ideal as they lived is unlikely, but in the document of these significant individuals for subsequent generations, sculptors fell back on the perfect stereotype. 

It's pretty remarkable to have the woman accompanying her husband. As royalty and living in one of the most progressive ancient societies, her presence is not completely shocking, but the emphasis on her womanhood as if it is an important and valued aspect of the queen is interesting. Her breasts and vaginal area are indicated beneath her dress. She also stands by her husband with an expression of affection: the arm behind the back and one hand caressing his arm. Still, it is important to note that she is placed behind him. His shoulder is sculpted directly over her, still showing his dominance and superiority. 

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