The god Amun ("the hidden one") first came into prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. From the New Kingdom onward, Amun was arguably the most important god in the Egyptian pantheon. As a creator god, Amun is most often identified as Amun-Re (in the typical Egyptian blending of deities, Amun is combined with the main solar deity, Re). His main sanctuary was the immense temple complex at Karnak on the east bank of the Nile at the southern edge of modern Luxor.
In this small figure Amun stands in the traditional pose with the left leg forward. He is identified by his characteristic flat-topped crown, which originally supported two tall gold feathers, now missing. He wears the gods' braided beard with a curled tip and carries an ankh emblem in his left hand and a scimitar across his chest. On pylons and temple walls of the New Kingdom, Amun-Re is often depicted presenting a scimitar to the king, thus conferring on him military victory.
This statuette, cast in solid gold, is an extremely rare example of the statuary made of precious materials that, according to ancient descriptions, filled the sanctuaries of temples. The figure could have been mounted on top of a ceremonial scepter or standard. There are traces of a tripartite loop on the top of Amun’s cap, which indicates that he could be suspended and, as such, perhaps was worn by a temple celebrant or by a statue of a deity. For the Egyptians, the color of gold and the sheen of its surface were associated with the sun, and the skin of gods was supposed to be made of gold.
The soft modeling of the torso, the narrow waist, and other features are typical of the art of the Third Intermediate period. This era marks the political decline of centralized power in Egypt, but it is also a period of great artistic achievement. Works in metal (gold, silver, and, above all, bronze) were of especially fine quality, and the Museum's statuette of Amun testifies to the excellence typical of the period.
Hill, Marsha 2004. Royal Bronze Statuary from Ancient Egypt with Special Attention to the Kneeling Pose. Leiden: Brill, p. 32ff. as TIP-D, plate 16.
Hill, Marsha and Deborah Schorsch 2005. "The Gulbenkian Torso of King Pedubaste: Investigations into Egyptian Large Bronze Statuary." In Metropolitan Museum Journal, 40, p. 183, fig. 29; p.194, n. 142.
Hill, Marsha and Deborah Schorsch 2007. Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 19; pp. 84–89 (DS, MH); p. 91, n. 7, 197, 205.
Hill, Marsha 2007. "Heights of Artistry: The Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1070–664 B.C.)." In Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples, edited by Marsha Hill and Deborah Schorsch. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 51, 52, no. 19.
Hill, Marsha 2007. "Loops and Metal Statuary." In Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples, edited by Marsha Hill and Deborah Schorsch. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 87–89.
Schorsch, Deborah 2007. "The Manufacture of Metal Statuary: "Seeing the Workshops of the Temple." In Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples, edited by Marsha Hill and Deborah Schorsch. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 197, no. 19.
Hill, Marsha and Deborah Schorsch 2008. Offrandes aux Dieux d'Egypte. Martigny, Switzerland: Fondation Pierre Gianadda Martigny, cat. 19; pp. 84-89, 91n7, 197, 211-213, 245.
Brandl, Helmut 2008. Untersuchungen zur steineren Privatplastik der Dritten Zwischenzeit. Typologie-Ikonographie-Stilistik. Berlin: Menschundbuch (MBV), p. 276.
2012. Le crépuscule des pharaons: chefs-d’oeuvre des dernières dynasties égyptiennes. Anvers, pp. 202-3.
Schorsch, Deborah 2014. "A Conservator's Perspective." In Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective: Methods and Syntheses, edited by Benjamin W. Roberts and Christopher .P. Thornton. New York: Springer Publishing Company, p. 283, fig. 12.9.
Hill, Marsha 2015. "A Gilded-Silver Pendant of Nephthys Naming Mereskhonsu.
With an appended technical examination by Deborah Schorsch." In Revue d'Egyptologie, 66, p. 37.
Schorsch, Deborah 2019. "Ritual Metal Statuary in Ancient Egypt: "A Long Life and a Great Good Age." In Statues in Context: Production, meaning and (re)uses, edited by Aurelia Masson-Berghoff. Leuven: Peeters, p. 252, n.4.
Jurman, Claus 2020. Memphis in der Dritten Zwischenzeit: Eine Studie zur (Selbst-)Repräsentation von Eliten in der 21. und 22. Dynastie, 2 vols.. Hamburg, p. 1030 n4988.
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