Amenhotp III statue head surfaces in Luxor

King Tut's grandfather's statue head surfaces in Luxor
| Reuters

Pretty cool. Sourouzian keeps finding all kinds of cool stuff in what used to be the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III. This time it's the head of a colossal statue that they probably found the body of a while back.  For scale, the head is about as tall as a person.
If you look at the photo, you can get an idea of the amazing quality of the sculpting. The sort of rectangular notch was probably to hold on a separate decorative element. He's wearing the white (bowling pin) crown of Upper Egypt (the south), which is usually associated with the vulture goddess, so the uraeus is probably to represent Renenutet spitting at his enemies.
His cheekbones are highly modeled and he has a faint smile and the corners of his mouth drilled. Really beautiful work, especially in granite (probably from Aswan). His nose is intact too, which is really nice, because statues have a habit of falling face first and smashing off their noses.
Amenhotep seemed to be sort of obsessed with youth - it seems that the later in his reign you get, the younger he appears to be in depictions. In actuality, he was probably a rotten-toothed, fat bastard near the end of his life. It's possible he even went so far as to ask some vile Asiatics for help - his father-in-law (AIII had a lot of wives, including a daughter of the king of Mitanni), and Tushratta of Mitanni was kind enough to send a statue of Ishtar said to have healing powers. (However, reexamination of the Amarna Letters suggests that the statue came to bless the marriage of the princess of Mitanni and Amenhotep III and not to heal his fat ass...)
It's sort of amazing to see these huge things coming out of what was a flat, boring looking field the last time I was in Luxor (which was 2004). You have the two colossal statues of Amenhotep III (one of which is the Colossi of Memnon that used to sing at sunrise until some stupid Roman messed it up) and then...a field. No sign at all of the immense mortuary temple at all. It was actually sort of weird to see those statues just sitting there.
Apparently, judging by the recent finds, there's some pretty awesome stuff under the field, though.


Barbara said...

Oh, nice. Nice snark, too. "rotten-toothed fat bastard" love it.

Julie said...

COOL! Keep it coming. I love this stuff and you're better connected to hear scuttlebutt than I am. Eeeeexcellent. (Said in my best Mr. Burns voice.)