Userhat and Kha: In Humble Worship
The ancient Egyptians had an entire society based on interaction with the spiritual world, erecting temples and shrines in honor of the many gods they felt to have power over their lives. Requiring a great amount of skill, intelligence, and brute strength, when these devotional tools were built, they were built to last. Such holy places housed objects of great spiritually symbolic importance in reflection of their worship-driven lifestyles. Tangible and beautiful, the people had great admiration for them. They (the sculptures) were able to solidify the people’s beliefs and provide direct links between the realms of the human and the spiritual. One piece that captures this concept of the Egyptians’ use of representative imagery is the pair statue of Userhat and Kha, which is styled in a frozen, emotionless manner in order to depict the eternity of the home of the ka, the human life force.
The sculptor was able to achieve a steadfast, frozen feel through the use of material, the portrayal of their bodies, and the stillness of Userhat and Kha’s figures. As an artist, a sculptor in ancient Egypt must have taken material into great consideration due to the great cost difference in stone opposed to wood, clay, or other less inexpensive materials popular among the less wealthy of the time. Therefore, the choice of stone must have been directly significant in the message being sent across. Carved out of the hard granite, Userhat and Kha appear to be transformed into a state far more impervious than the delicate human body, showing that they have left their flesh in pursuit of a more impermeable form. In Egypt, such sculptures were meant to house the life force of the human soul, the ka. This symbolism is also present in the metaphoric nature of their figures. As simple, humble members of the working class, their bodies were depicted as thin, elongated, and somewhat droopy through the torso. Their class is indicated by the...
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