Rahotep and Nefret

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The Statues of Rahotep and Nefert

The first thing that strikes an observer of these two statues is the excellent condition they are in. The paint on the two figures, Rahotep and Nefert, is extremely well preserved and there is only a minuscule amount of perceptible damage. Rahotep, who is seated on the left, retains the air of nobility and grandeur that a king's son and high priest would have undoubtedly enjoyed during his lifetime. His wife, Nefert, sits adorned with an intricate wig and headband that match her bright jewelry and indicate her elevated social status. Together, the figures complement each other perfectly and provide a valuable glimpse into the world of non-royal funerary art of Ancient Egypt. The statues of Rahotep and Nefert are made of limestone, one of the most accessible and popular materials used for sculpture in the Nile Valley, and are 120 cm high. After these statues were carved out of two single blocks of rock, they were covered with a thin layer of plaster and painted. Copper chisels and stone tools were most probably used to carve them. Like most other seated statues, the stone between their arms and their body has not been cut away. This is intentional; it is supposed to convey a sense of power and prevent breakage. The two figures also exhibit frontality, an attribute shared by the vast majority of three-dimensional Egyptian art. They are both facing perfectly straight ahead and are not looking at each other or to the side. Both Rahotep and Nefert are roughly the same size and are seated in almost identical high-backed chairs with footrests. Rahotep wears a very plain kilt and a small amulet around his neck. He has close-cropped hair and his face is adorned with a thin mustache. He has broad shoulders and muscular arms and it is worth noting that his right arm is held across his chest while his left rests on his thigh. In this respect he resembles Djoser, but the horizontally held arm goes out of fashion...
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