Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1911-1912

Seite: 11
DOI Artikel: 10.11588/diglit.12419.4
DOI Seite: 10.11588/diglit.12419#0031
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Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen
The Archaeological Survey.


chapel of Ukhuhotep I. Attention has already been drawn to the
remarkably naturalistic work of the artists of Cusae. Is it merely a
coincidence that the chief remains of the apparent outburst of realism in
art that characterises the reign of Ikhnaton have also been found in this
district ? El-Amarna is only fifteen miles north of Qusiya, and when
Amenophis IV. moved his capital thither he is sure to have employed the
craftsmen of the neighbourhood. What we have always thought to be a
notable instance of this realism are the remarkable figures of the king and
his courtiers, the peculiarities in which are commonly supposed to be
derived from the person of Ikhnaton himself.

In the latest of the tomb-chapels at Meir, that of Ukhuhotep III., which
is decorated with frescoes only, there is a very marked mannerism in the
rendering of the figures of the men. They have slender waists, full busts,
and rather broad hips (Fig. 2). Also instead of being coloured red, as in
the other tomb-chapels, they are yellow like the women.

Have we not here the beginnings of that fashion which is so striking a
feature in the art of Ikhnaton's reign ? If so, these effeminate-looking men
in the reliefs at El-Amarna, far from being examples of realism, are a gross
affectation transmitted to their successors by the Middle Kingdom artists of
Cusae, and further developed and exaggerated in the period between the
Xllth and XVIIIth Dynasties. The naturalism of the older period lingers
on in such works as the painted pavement, the blind orchestra in the tomb-
chapel of Merire,* and in the free attitudes of many of the human figures.
But by that time this very naturalism seems to have become a manner.
Thus what we have been wont to admire so much at El-Amarna may be
only the art of Cusae in its decadence. Already in Ukhuhotep III.'s chapel
the frescoes are marked by certain artificialities, apart from the one com-
mented upon, which do not exist in the earlier reliefs at Meir, whose fresh-
ness and vigour these paintings, beautiful though they are, distinctly lack.

During the three months I was at Meir I drew and photographed all
the scenes in Senbi I.'s chapel, and traced all the frescoes in that of
Ukhuhotep III., photographing there also as much as was possible. I like-
wise photographed most of the scenes in the chapel of Ukhuhotep II. and
many of the more important ones in that of Pepiankh. Next season I
hope to complete the record of the Middle Kingdom tomb-chapels, leaving
Pepiankh for the following campaign.

The chapels of Ukhuhotep II. and III. are in a terribly injured

* There are also blind musicians on the north wall of Ukhuhotep I.'s chapel
at Meir.
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