God Amun

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This is a solid bronze statuette of Amun, or Amun-Ra, made by lost–wax casting. The hollow interior has a solid filling. The decoration and markings of the body were made by the use of incisions.

The god is standing, facing forward with the left leg in front as if in motion, this being typical iconography in Egyptian art. It is of a typology that recalls the Theban god Amun, in a sculpture in solid gold which was kept in the sacred chapel of the Temple of Amun in Karnak, and which was the object of a cult and the adoration of the priests. His feet stand on a narrow, thin rectangular base. The god is seen naked except for a short, striated kilt held by a narrow belt.

His left arm falls along his thigh, with his fist closed while his right arm is bent forward in front of his chest. He is holding a curved sword (khepesh) in his right hand as a guarantee of military victory. On the arms, just below the shoulders, bracelets can be seen. He is also wearing a wide collar (usekh) over his chest. It is of the most common typology, made up of many rows of beads, and was typically worn by gods and royalty. He is wearing a false beard and the habitual headdress of Amun, the cylindrical crown originally surmounted by two ostrich feathers and possibly with the solar disk in the centre. The fine execution of the artisan modelling the facial features is of note.

The name Amun means “the hidden one”. He became popular in the New Kingdom, with the centre of his cult at Thebes. His importance continued from that time to the arrival of the Romans. He became a principal deity in Egyptian religion when he was associated with Ra, with the figure of Amun-Ra. He was considered a dynastic god due to the devotion to him paid by the Theban pharaohs, thus eclipsing the predominance of the warrior god Montu, another divinity worshiped at Thebes. The priests of Amun came to form the most influential sector in Egyptian society.

Amun represents a number of abstract concepts associated with the air, as he is present in every place at all times. Thus he had the title of “the hidden one”, as he could not be seen, but could be felt to be present, and was the one who generously attended to the petitions that the public made to him through prayers and offerings.

He is represented as a man with red or blue skin, or in the form of an animal with the head of a ram. In either of these two forms he wears the headdress of the two feathers divided in sections with the solar disk at their base. He can be seen carrying the sceptre was and the ankh, as is the case with this statuette.

The technique of lost-wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out through expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To release the final piece the mould must be removed.

PARALLELS:

- Statuette of the god Amun. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXII. c. 945 – 712 BC. Possibly Thebes,Karnak. Oro. 17,5 x 4,7 x 5,8 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Inventory No. 26.7.1412.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

- AA. VV. Fastueuse Égypte. Musée Calvet, Avignon (25/06/2011 au 14/11/2011), ouvrage publié sous la direction d’Odile Cavalier. AVIGNON. 2011.
- AA. VV. Momias egipcias. El secreto de la vida eterna. Fundació La Caixa. 2013.
- WILKINSON H. R. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London, 2003.

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