Edda Bresciani – Una rilettura di un testo biografico. La caduta mortale del visir Uashptah della piramide di Neferirkara
The aim of this paper is to present evidence for the influence of the solar cult in Abydos during the Middle Kingdom. The Abydene references to the sun god Re will be presented as well as various potential solar epithets of Osiris. By demonstrating that the solar theology had much more impact on the local cults then previously assumed, this work is intended to augment our understanding regarding how the relationship between Osiris and Re developed during the Middle Kingdom.
In the early Middle Kingdom most coffins were produced locally, often at places with a strong local governor. There is some evidence that coffins were traded from one place to another, although the evidence is not abundant. By comparison, far fewer coffins are known from the late Middle Kingdom (late Twelfth to Thirteenth Dynasty). It seems that only centres with royal connections produced coffins: Abydos, Memphis/Lisht, Thebes. This geographical restriction provides one reason for why we no longer have the same high number of decorated coffins as before. At the same time, the provincial population followed older burial traditions that did not require decorated coffins.
Tefnut was one of the most important figures in the heliopolitan theology, as goddess of sexuality, fertility and rebirth. This role, despite appearances, may have been used and adapted also under Akhenaten’s reign, when the ‘heretic’ pharaoh adopted past symbologies to continue the political-religious program of his father, Amenhotep III. As a god in the earth, Akhenaten needed a goddess by his side for the maintaining of universe status quo. Thereby, Nefertiti took connotations and functions of Tefnut, accompanying her husband in every official representations. So, in this paper, I’ll analyze some possible ways of acquisition of the heliopolitan precepts in the Amarna period, epoch in which there are the first iconographic representations of Tefnut.
The role of the Khemenyu, «The ones of the town “Eight” (Khemenu/Hermopolis)», known as Ogdoad, was crucial in the theologies of Ptolemaic temples, in Thebes, Fayum and other places. In Thebes particularly, the ritual scenes, hymns, dedicatory inscriptions on the propylons (temple of Khonsu, temple of Montu, second pylon, pylon of Medinet Habu) or inside the temples (Opet, Khonsu temple, small temple of Medinet Habu) offer a large amount of information to understand the myth of their birth in Luxor, their role of creators, their travels along the Nile to Hermopolis, Memphis and Heliopolis, their return to Thebes where they were buried in the sacred mound of Djeme on the western bank of the Nile in the area of the small temple of Medinet Habu. The analysis of more ancient documents will show that this group do not appear before the 18th dynasty. Until the first millennium, their role was limited to the sun’s adoration, perhaps in the shape of baboons. Their iconography is not known before the 26th dynasty, when they appeared as men with frog heads and women with cobra heads; their Theban Ptolemaic representations are generally purely anthropomorphic. At the same time, they received personal names as four couples named by the masculine name and its feminine counterpart: Amon and Amonet, Nun and Nunet, Hehu and Hehet, Keku and Keket. From their first manifestations during the New Kingdom to the last ones in Roman time, the evolution of their functions is obvious; the creation of their own myth as cosmogonic gods and dead gods cannot be dated before the second part of the first millenium. This analysis underlines the transformation of these divine entities, of their myth and their theology during their long history.
Mummy masks were popular within ancient Egyptian burial assemblages – from the Old Kingdom down to the Roman Period – even though their production was not continuous over time. Among this category of funerary objects, the cartonnage helmet masks – in particular those produced between the end of the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom – form an interesting group, the evolutionary process of which can be analysed through the epochs. After a brief introduction on the masking phenomenon both in ritual and funerary contexts, this paper focuses on a small group of 19th Dynasty helmet masks found in the tomb of Sennedjem at Deir el-Medina (TT 1). These masks are noteworthy because of their innovative decoration that makes them unique pieces among the New Kingdom samples. In addition, their added value consists in the peculiar shape of their back side, which very likely characterizes them as the last representative pieces of the cartonnage helmet masks of pharaonic Egypt.
While examining the shabti-jars housed in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum (London), I noticed a striking resemblance between the vessels London EA 58773-76 and another six vessels stored in other museums and collections around the world (the Cleveland Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum, and a private collection in Tübingen). This paper will focus on two issues: firstly, a description of the exact features of the London EA 58773-76 vessels, through comparison with other jars that are similar in structure and that still contain shabtis. Secondly, through comparisons of the hieroglyphic inscriptions and titles written on the London vessel walls, I will show that these vessels belonged to the same priest called Hori who is named on the other six vessels. Furthermore, through the dating of the vessels, this paper will provide evidence that Hori was working during the 20th Dynasty at Thoth’s Temple in Hermopolis.
Among the wide collection of the bronze figurines preserved at the Petrie Museum, UC 8033 represents Osiris with an iconography rarely attested: the representation on the back of a falcon with a sun disc and with wings wrapping the body of the figure. Unfortunately, the figurine is unprovenanced and no other information are preserved in the museum. This paper presents also five other Osiris figurines (1- BM EA 24718; 2- Brooklyn Museum, inv. no. 39.93; 3- MMA 56.16.2; 4- CG 38270; 5- Statuette from a private collection – unknown location –), which show close parallels in iconography, design, and composition with UC 8033. Furthermore, the peculiar iconography of the falcon on the back is not exclusively used for Osiris, but it is in use also for other statuettes, mainly representing goddesses, such as Neith and Isis, and high social rank women, such as the famous statue of Karomama (Louvre N 500). The chronological range of UC 8033 seems to be circumscribed to the time between the Third Intermediate Period and the early Twenty-six Dynasty.
Object of the paper are two wooden furniture elements and a group of glass inlays from the Collections of the Egyptian Museum in Florence. Many of these inlays decorated small wooden shrines or pieces of temple furniture; shrines panels inlaid with colored glass elements are attested from the late sixth century B.C. onward. Monochromatic or mosaic glass inlay might be placed in separate cells or be contiguously adhered on a common background. Almost all the inlays, now divorced from their original settings, are in monochrome opaque glass in red, light turquoise-blue, light blue, blue, green and black, just one is in mosaic glass.
This paper presents the identification of the statuary fragment S. 19400 RCGE 48068 (Egyptian Museum, Turin) with the head of a sculpture discovered in 1931 at Tebtynis. In that year, during the second fieldwork season of the Italian Archaeological Mission at Tebtynis, Carlo Anti and Gilbert Bagnani discovered several fragments of a non-royal Ptolemaic sculpture. The whereabouts of this statue have since remained unknown and its available documentation have thus been limited to the photographs taken in 1931. This paper offers a thorough stylistic discussion of the statue and proposes a dating for it. Investigation in the Turin Egyptian Museum has recently allowed the author to analyse a poorly preserved statue head found by Anti in Tebtynis (inv. no. S. 19400 RCGE 48068). Autopsy of the object confirmed the identification of this fragment with the head of the non-royal sculpture discovered in 1931 at Tebtynis.
Often when one studies ancient civilisations, one focuses on archeological data and, in particular, materials; but the question that has always intrigued me the most has been: what did the people who designed and manufactured the typical artifacts of the Nubian territory (commonly referred to as the Corridor of Africa) live on? What were the eating habits of the local populations? What food did they love the most and how did they use to cook and prepare the ingredients they used the most? To answer these questions, I have analysed the textual data provided by classical authors and local inscriptions, as well as the iconographic data. Both confirmed what was already highlighted by the archaeological findings. The archaeological analysis focused in particular on food remains found in some sites including Kerma, Kawa and Meroe, and on the skeletal remains of the cemetery of El Geili. Specifically, the bones have allowed to learn which food there was shortage and if there were cases of malnutrition. Achieving an understanding of the produce eaten by the ancient Nubia civilisations will lead to getting a better understanding of the taste and habits of this specific society which, even if for a very short period of time, dominated throughout the Egyptian territory reaching the northern Mediterranean shore.
This contribution analyses the group of bas-reliefs B-17/20 decorating the east side of the Throne Room of the Northwest palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Kalḫu. The non-bellicose aspects of one of the motifs depicted, the royal hunt, together with the extreme calm and simplicity featuring the narrative composition of the battle and tribute scenes, make this group an evident exception within the decoration of the Throne Room, whose west side is in contrast mainly characterized by bloody and complex images of war. Although some scholars have touched on this issue, no one has carried out a thorough analysis or provided a convincing and reasonable explanation. Therefore, this paper aims to fill this gap by scrutinizing the slabs B-17/20 in the light of 1) their spatial context and their meanings, 2) the identity of the figures portrayed and 3) the visual consumption by an audience. In particular, from a close examination of the battle and tribute scenes, it is concluded that these represent the middle Euphrates kingdom of Suḫu, and carry a message specifically intended for visitors from this kingdom.
Already in the III century B.C. traffics and trade between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean opened Arabia Felix to the cultural influence of Hellenism. Traders and craftsmen begun spreading Hellenistic taste in South Arabia too. Hellenistic elements appeared there first in South Arabian statues, bas-reliefs and decoration. One of the most famous bronze statue found at Tamna‘ or Timna‘ (Qatabān), named ‘Lady Bar’at’ by the archaeologists who found it, is now kept at the National Museum of Aden (Yemen). It is of special interest for the studies on the diffusion of Hellenistic-Roman iconographies into South Arabian bronze production. The heavy, huge figure, the rigid frontal attitude and the linear drapery of this statue reveal undoubtedly the work of a local artist inspired by a “western” iconographic model. Lady Bar’at, here dated between the end of the the 1st cent. B.C. and the first half of the 1st cent. A.D., actually shows no stylistic or iconographic elements to suggest an influence of Parthian art; the “stricte frontalitè” of such statue, resorted to several times in this connection by Jacqueline Pirenne, does not come from Arsacic, but rather from Hellenistic Greek tradition, mixed with the peculiar features of South Arabian style.
The article follows up on a previous study concerning the beginnings of the East Syriac typography (The Chaldean Business. The Beginnings of East Syriac Typography and the Profession of Faith of Patriarch Elias (Vat. Ar. 83, ff. 117-126), «Miscellanea Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae» 20  211-258). A more accurate interpretation of documents in the State Archive in Florence allows the author to specify the dates when the punchcutter Robert Granjon designed two East Syriac fonts, thus providing the necessary tools for the printing project. The essay also suggests an identification of the Syriac types of the Stamperia Medicea, through a comparison with other documents relevant to the history of the Eastern types owned by the Stamperia after the end of its activity (1614). As a conclusion, a list of all Syriac types designed by Granjon is proposed.