Khafre Enthroned: A Funerary Statue of Ancient Egypt

Khafre Enthroned: A Funerary Statue of Ancient Egypt

Pharaoh Khafre Enthroned is a funeral statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Khafre, who ruled during the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2570 BCE). It is now housed in Cairo's Egyptian Museum. The building is composed of anorthosite gneiss (a diorite-like rock), a valuable, highly hard, and dark stone carried 400 miles down the Nile River from royal quarries. This emphasizes Khafre's rulership importance and might. The figure was created for the Pharaoh's valley temple, which was located near the Great Sphinx and was utilized in burial rituals. This Old Kingdom statue serves as a substitute habitation for the Pharaoh's ka—the life energy that accompanied a person with a kind of other self—in Egyptian graves. The ka departs from the body and enters the afterlife, but he still requires a place to rest: the statue.

This in-the-round (rather than relief) sculpture depicts Khafre seated, one of the fundamental formulaic styles employed to depict the human figure throughout the Old Kingdom. Mummification, a 70-day process that ensured the pharaoh's immortality, played a significant role in Egyptian culture. If a pharaoh's mummy was damaged, a ka statue was made to "guarantee immortality and permanence of the deceased's identity by providing a substitute dwelling place for the ka" starting in the third millennium BCE.

Khafre sits stiff in his royal seat, his gaze fixed on the horizon. The pharaoh wears a linen nemes headdress that folds over his broad shoulders and covers most of his forehead. The uraeus, or cobra emblem, is depicted on the front of this royal headpiece, coupled with the royal false beard attached to the end of his chiseled chin. Khafre is dressed in a kilt that exposes his idealized upper body and muscle definition. [requires citation] Egyptian idealized portraiture is intended to announce the divine character of Egyptian rule rather than to reflect unique attributes. The throne Khafre sits on is made out of two stylised lions' bodies, which provide a solid foundation. Between the legs of the throne, papyrus plants (symbolizing Upper Egypt) and lotus plants (symbolizing Lower Egypt) grow, referring to the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt that ended the Egyptian Pre-Dynastic period. Another connection to the united Egypt is the god Horus, who is represented as a falcon and covers the backside of Khafre's head with his wings. Apart from the spectacular view of the falcon resting behind Khafre's head (unseen from the front), Khafre's feet are positioned on a flat platform etched with nine archery bows, symbolizing the king's and kingdom's dominance over foreign/domestic hostile tribes.

The symmetrical pharaoh exhibits no movement or change, suppressing all motion and time to produce an eternal stillness; his strong build and permanent attitude show no concept of time—Khafre is timeless, and his power will continue to exist even after death. The statue is compact and sturdy, with few protruding pieces; Khafre's block-like body is permanently linked to the throne, forming a single construction. In a tight, frontal stance, his arms lay on his thighs, directly facing the observer. The bilaterally symmetric statue, which represents the pharaoh's order and authority, is identical on both sides of the vertical axis of the statue, with the exception of Khafre's clenched right fist. [requires citation] Khafre as a permanent entity and part of the stone to keep his ka secure is represented by the narrow profile and block-like aspect. On this planet and in the afterlife, Khafre will always exist. The pharaoh's sculpture is completely frontal, completely immovable, and totally tranquil, all of which are features of Egyptian block statues.

The sculptor utilized the subtractive process to make this sculpture in the round. He started with a diorite cube-shaped stone block. On the four vertical faces of the stone, the sculptor first drew the front, rear, and two profile views of Khafre. The sculptor chiseled away the surplus stone on all four sides until the plans came together at right angles after the drawn designs were completed. The final process involved carving the falcon god Horus and other decorations on the throne, as well as sculpting individual aspects of Khafre's torso and face. For Khafre's ka figure, a standard for Egyptian sculpture at the time, the subtractive process allows the sculptor to produce a block-like effect. Abrasion, rubbing, or grinding the surface were utilized to finish the product in addition to the subtractive approach. The total height of the diorite statue is five feet and six inches.

The ka figure of Khafre, which would have been found in the Valley temple of Khafre, was merely one aspect of a complex system employed in Egyptian funerary rituals. The Valley Temple of Khafre, a mortuary temple, the Great Sphinx, and a causeway leading to the pyramid of Khafre were all located at the Pyramids of Gizeh.

The Great Pyramids of Gizeh (Pyramids of Giza) are three massive pyramids for three Egyptian pharaohs, with several lesser pyramids containing the royal family and nobles' mummies, located on the outskirts of modern-day Cairo. The pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure are the most famous and are devoted to each god in order of size. Khafre's pyramid and mausoleum were built to house his mummy in perpetuity, while his ka figure was kept in the Valley Temple's serdab (chamber room). The Great Pyramids of Gizeh, unlike prior pyramids such as the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser erected by the first known architect Imhotep, were not built on a rectangular mastaba construction. The tomb's new, gently sloping surface is formed by a rectangular base aligned with the four cardinal directions of the compass. The four sides end in a pointy tip, referring to the sun Re's (Ra) symbol, the ben-ben. Using the sun's rays, these symbolic pyramids permitted the pharaoh's spirit to rise to the skies.

The burial procession bearing the mummy of the pharaoh began east of the Nile River, where the sun rises every morning and where Egyptians reside. Khafre's mummy would have crossed the Nile River, which served as a lifeline connecting east and west. The Nile was immensely important in Egyptian culture because it supplied fertility to the land and symbolized life to those who lived along it. Because of its significance and significance as a symbol of life, it was included in the procession to bury the pharaoh. Khafre's body would then be found on the Nile's west bank, in the country of the dead. The sun sets and dies every night, which is why the city's western half was dedicated to burying the deceased. [requires citation] The horizontal axis of east to west was symbolic to the Egyptians, reflecting the cycle of life and eternalness of their rulers; every day, the sun rises in the east, sets in the west at night, and rises in the east the next morning. The horizontal axis employed in the funeral procession has a rhythm that corresponds to the pharaoh's eternalness.

Khafre's mummy would go along the causeway, or road, once on the west bank of the Nile, passing through the Valley Temple of Khafre, which housed the Khafre Enthroned statue. The Great Sphinx, a beast with a Pharaoh head and a cat body carved out of the area's living/natural rock, lies next along the causeway. Many people believe that the sphinx's visage is that of Pharaoh Khafre, further honoring him in the funeral procession. The mummy and procession continue along the causeway to the Mortuary Temple of Khafre, which is adjacent to the pharaoh's pyramid. Offerings to the deceased pharaoh were made here, as well as additional ceremonies. The funeral process was concluded by sealing the mummy in Khafre's pyramid's tomb, where his body and ka would lie quietly for eternity.

Last updated: 2022-March-20
Tags: History Egypt Statue
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