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Breaking the Noses on Egyptian Statues


Edward Bleiberg is Senior Curator of Egyptian Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum He joined the museum, which, by the way, has an extraordinarily fine Egyptian collection, one of the best in the country, in 1998 from the University of Memphis the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology where he had served as director and associate professor

While he was there, he conducted fieldwork at the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak, epigraphics survey project He's originally from Pittsburgh and he graduated from Haverford College, and then headed up North and earned his MA and PhD from the University of Toronto Doctor Bleiberg is the author of numerous books and articles on ancient Egyptian economy, coffins, and the Jewish minority in both ancient Egypt and also in ancient Rome Among his books, from the most recent back to earlier, are Striking Power, Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt, that's this year, 2019, and the subject of tonight's lecture And also a special exhibition that opened first, at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St

Louis, now at the Comer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida till next April, and then opening up next May, in Brooklyn I hope I have that right, all that scheduling More of his books, Soulful Creatures, Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt, in 2013, To Live Forever, Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum, 2008, Jewish Life in Ancient Egypt, A Family Archive from the Nile Valley, 2002, and all the way back in 1996, The Official Gift in Ancient Egypt, which is all about the Egyptian word, Inu, which some people translate as "tribute" Many of these titles I just listed also are catalogs for special exhibitions that he put on at the Brooklyn Museum, and an additional one is Tree of Paradise, Jewish Mosaics from the Roman Empire As you see on the screen tonight, tonight's topic has the wonderfully provocative title– Breaking the Noses on Egyptian Statues

So without further ado, Dr Edward Bleiberg [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE] Thank you, Peter It's always frightening to hear your life summarized like that, but I appreciate it very much I want to thank Peter for inviting me to talk about this subject

This is actually the first public lecture that I've given on this subject, and so I'm glad to have this audience to try it out on I also want to thank Anne Pasternak who is the Leon Levy and Shelby White director of the Brooklyn Museum and Cara Starke who is the director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation Both Ann and Cara gave me tremendous support in putting this exhibition together And what you're going to be hearing tonight are sort of something about the exhibition, some of the points I try to make in the exhibition But also some of those loose ends which any curator comes up with, and questions that I would like to pursue further that came up while putting this exhibition together

So the exhibition itself was inspired by the most common question that Egyptologists are asked in any Egyptian collection, but I hear it all the time in Brooklyn Why are the noses broken on ancient Egyptian art? Now, the question always struck me as very strange because in eight years of graduate work, I don't think we thought about this question for three seconds And the first time somebody asked me the question way back when I was in Memphis, I had no answer And my mind was going to things like, well, they're really old, so maybe that's why they're broken But at the same time, what I ended up doing– the research I did to try to come up with a legitimate answer to this question was highly influenced by an article by the novelist Ben Lerner who wrote in The New Yorker five years ago about the way we look at art

Especially older art And that those of us who are trained to talk about Egyptian, let's just talk about Egyptian, we really are so interested in reestablishing the original context, and then we forget about it That is, these works of art have a 4,000 year history and during that time, people's attitudes towards the work changes But also the physical work of art itself changes enormously over that 4,000 year period So all of us who have looked at it during that 4,000 years are also reacting to something slightly different

Now perhaps the color's gone, different parts of the body are missing So we're going to see pretty quickly that it isn't only the noses that are missing And then finally, the other issue, for me, is that at the Brooklyn Museum we are charged to make our exhibitions relevant to the contemporary world And the sad fact is that iconoclasm, the purposeful destruction of works of art of all types, is in the news all the time these days Whether it's the Bamiyan Buddhas, whether it's what happened in Syria most recently, and also in New York and I'm sure in Boston too, discussions of what we should do with works of art in American public spaces that no longer reflect the most current ideas of our own history

So I'm talking about Confederate monuments, obviously All right so I had these many reasons why I wanted to answer these questions So what I hope to demonstrate for you this evening is that damaging images in ancient Egypt is as deeply ingrained in Egyptian culture as making images was And that this practice of damaging images continued from ancient pharaonic culture into the period immediately following when Egyptians were converting to Christianity So the first thing you notice when you look at a work of art, like this, Setju's stela from the Old Kingdom is that the details– you notice if you look at the details that the objects themselves are broken in many more places than just the noses

Here, for example, you can see that Setju's name has been hacked away, mostly hacked away And I'm also very interested in the fact that Setju's hand has been severed from the rest of his body, and this is the hand that Setju is using to take in the offerings, which I think has a lot to do with the way that objects are actually damaged So why were certain parts, including the nose, targeted? Well, Egyptian art, you have to remember, is really a piece of funeral or ritual equipment We talk about it as art, but the ancient Egyptians didn't have a word for art The ancient Egyptians would not have talked about these objects as anything like art

For an ancient Egyptian, three dimensional and two dimensional images were, with the proper words spoken, were inhabited by a supernatural force And the images that represent deceased people, gods, kings, for the Egyptians, are alive In fact, one of the words one of the many words for sculpture in ancient Egyptian is sankhu, the thing that is made to be alive And the Egyptians had a strong– the whole purpose of making these objects was to provide an earthly body for a supernatural force And we could talk about in the tomb, the way it's a particular part of the soul, the ka, according to the inscriptions

For gods, another part of the life force, the ba, in a temple inhabits a statue And so the purpose of these actual objects is to bring the supernatural into contact with the earthly And in fact, in the Memphite Theology, statues are referred to as the bodies of the gods The stela of a man named Penamun helps us understand a little bit about how these statues would have been used Now, in this stela, I'm going to try to use this properly, you really have three different registers

And each one of the registers represent a different place where a ritual activity is taking place So here the deceased and his wife are before the God of Cyrus and his wife, Isis, and they're located in the next world In the central register, here is the same deceased man, Penamun and his wife, Mutemwiya They sit before an offering table receiving offerings from probably their son and their daughter who are performing ritual acts, which convey food to them And then, on the exterior, the lowest level represents the terrestrial where members of the family continue to eat in communion with the people who have gone on to the next world already

Now, these works, because they were so important to allowing people in the next world to receive food from this world, were enormously valuable to people who had died, also to kings who put their own images into temples and images of gods, which also would have been placed in temples And the Egyptians express enormous anxiety about damage to these objects And one quotation I'd like to read to you comes from the tomb of a man named Weresu of Coptos and this is what he says It's actually on a scribe statue, he says, "as for anyone who will attack my corpse in the necropolis, who will remove my statue from my tomb, Re hates him" Re is the sun god, of course

"He shall have no water from the altar of oh Cyrus" Cyrus is, of course, the god who rules over the next world and who would supply water to Weresu or to any deceased person once he reaches the next world And then finally, Weresu curses anyone who disturbs his tomb He says, "he shall not ever bequeath his property to his children" So this also is about the worst

It's really three horrible things that will happen to you if you damage his tomb or his statue And I take this sort of evidence and then kind of reverse it in order to say, this thing is really important to him Not only is it really important to him, but he's genuinely worried that something bad could happen to his statue And he didn't just come up with that out of thin air, he was aware that bad things do happen to statues in many, many cases In fact, as Robert Ritner has shown, the destruction of images was an established method of fighting one's enemies

Ritner's work on magic, and these are execration figures specifically made to be damaged His work on magic describes how images are made And then, as part of a five step process, are destroyed First, the first step is making the images But then after writing the enemy's name on the figure, they are burnt, decapitated, dismembered, and most interesting to me, they're buried upside down

And this upside down-ness, is something that you also find with some damaged and buried statues that we find in context This happens, for example, at the Karnak cachette I actually have archaeological evidence of perfectly good statues that have been buried upside down And I think that this technique was also used on a wide variety of statues Now, to further understand how these statues worked for the Egyptians, it turns out that we can also reverse negative statements which we take from the Hebrew Bible

If you look, for example, at Psalm 138, it talks about, of course, it calls them idols They have mouths, but they do not speak Eyes, but they do not see They have ears, but they do not hear Neither is there any breath in their mouths

Now, this is really exactly the opposite of what an ancient Egyptian would have told you about their statues They can speak, see, breathe, and even eat And we can see even further in the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 10, he talks about statues worship with the use of statues, which he calls the practices of the peoples And he says, "the practices of the peoples are worthless They cut a tree out of a forest and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel

They adorn it with silver and gold They fasten it with hammer and nails, so it will not totter It's like a scarecrow in a cucumber field Their idols cannot speak, they must be carried because they cannot walk" And, of course, we have lots of scenes of the Egyptians carrying their statues through the temple

"Do not fear them," Jeremiah tells his people "They can do no harm nor can they do any good" Well, this part, don't be afraid of them and that they can do no harm, is something that I think was often forgotten by people around these objects So there are two– oh, I'm sorry I should have been showing you the slide, especially for the cucumber field, the wooden statue and the cucumber field

But this beautiful, wooden shabti from Brooklyn's collection All right, I need to keep on moving the slides forward So there are two periods of political iconoclasm, or purposeful damage of statues that we know best from the New Kingdom, the period of Hatshepsut on your left and the period of Akhenaten, both during the 18th Dynasty Both periods where these particular kings were followed by a large amount of breakage of the objects that they made So I want to start with Hatshepsut's famous funerary temple at Deir el-Bahari and the decoration there

When we look at the breakage at Deir el-Bahari, even when we know it's not exactly the case that we interpret it this way any longer But we think about the story of how the king who followed Hatshepsut whose name was Thutmose III changed her name to his– in her famous temple, changed it to his name And then we often say that and then he also destroyed her statues And the evidence that we used for that is the fact that many of the statues at Deir el-Bahari, most of the statues of Deir el-Bahari were found in holes in front of the temple that were damaged This was during excavations that began as early as 1898 and then excavations have actually continued well into the 20th century

So when we talk about Deir el-Bahari, what we're usually talking about is its initial usage as a funerary temple for Hatshepsut And also the fact that it was used for certain festivals when the statue of the god, Amun, left his temple across the river, traveled to Hatshepsut's temple and participated in the festival of the valley in this temple What we often leave out from the story is that when Thutmose III changed the inscriptions to his own name, he was not the only king who ever did that And in fact, if you go back even to the old publications, you see right away, if you're looking for it, that you find in cartouches the name of Akhenaten where Thutmose III's name used to be, the name of Ramses II where first Hatshepsut was Then, Thutmose III was

Then Akhenaten, then Ramses II And in fact, what we've learned from the wonderful excavations that have been conducted by the Polish mission since the 1960s is that this is a building that continued to be used throughout pharaonic history It was used for a number of different purposes, but the building was always open And not only was it open throughout pharaonic history, but we often forget that what our common name for this place, Deir el-Bahari its names mean "the monastery of the North" in Arabic And in fact, the part of the building that, in fact, when I was in graduate school we never talked about, was that when archaeologists first came to Deir el-Bahari, this is what the third level looked like

There was a tremendous amount of brickwork, which was the monastery All of those reliefs, which numerous Egyptian kings had changed the names on, all of those reliefs were plastered over so that they would be hidden from the Christian monks who were using this big public building now has a monastery Not only that, because I had never really even asked the question, I only recently learned the original Coptic name of this building And this was the monastery of Saint Phoibammon So if you know your Egyptian gods, it's not terribly surprising that Christians living in the sixth, seventh, eighth century of the common era in Egypt– sometimes their names are compounded with the names of Egyptian gods And so Phoibammon is compounded with the name of the god Amun

OK, so I thought that was really very interesting, but that's not so unusual But then I haven't done Coptic since my comprehensive exams 35 years ago, but I did remember which reference books you're supposed to use And so I was looking for this word Phoibammon and I said, well, first of all, there are no words that start off with a "fa" in Coptic But it does seem to be "pa hoib," which would make it be "the hoib" And I couldn't figure out what a "hoib" was, but I did know you were supposed to go to Cerny's Etymological Dictionary to find out

And "hoib" is actually the Coptic descendant of the ancient Egyptian word "heb," which means the Festival Hall in this case So this Saint is named the Festival Hall of Amun, a name which must go back to the pharaonic period because that was part of the original purpose of this building And the purpose of the building for 2,000 years before it became a Christian monastery Now, why am I going through all of this? Who is more likely to break these statues– an Egyptian king or Christian monks? This is the question that I've been trying to understand as I've worked on this exhibition Egyptian kings, as it has been demonstrated over and over again in the last 20, 25 years, when they see a statue and they want to change it, they put their own name on it

Hourig Sourouzian and Simon Connor have shown us how old statues were remodeled to look modern for their own time And then you put the name, your own name, on the statue So even if Thutmose III were angry at Hatshepsut, he wouldn't break a perfectly good statue He would change the name Christian monks, however, are constantly writing in early Christianity in Egypt, and we often forget that by about 400 of the common era, Egypt is approaching a Christian majority

And then, of course, everything changes after the seventh century with Islam comes to Egypt But for there is this several hundred year period when Christians are in charge of Egypt And in fact, Christian and monks approach to ancient Egyptian statues is to break them Oops, I'm sorry Let me go back

So this statue of Hatshepsut, which is now put back together and in the Metropolitan Museum, is in fact, to me, more likely the work of these Christian monks And it's not as if they were shy about this As late as the eighth century, a guidebook to the ancient monuments of Constantinople warned Christians to take care when you look at old statues, especially the polytheistic ones And as Troels Myrup Kristensen has argued, early Christian texts that describe iconoclasm are designed to demonstrate the helplessness of the polytheistic gods in the face of Christian monks who were determined to end non-Christian power on Earth In the texts, damage to statues is to show force performed for an audience of polytheists

Once the polytheists witnessed the demonstration of Christian power, they would either convert to Christianity or establish a church on the spot or maybe a monastery, as here, or they would exercise the demons Which is how they identified the ancient polytheistic gods at that point, or they would commit to martyrdom in the Christian cause And that attitude is very well summarized in a chant, which Coptic pilgrims sang as they visited these places They would sing, "and those shameful things, demons and idols and defiled things made with hands in the land of the Egyptians Our good Savior trampled down altogether and set up in place a holy pillar

" And so I would like to review the archaeological evidence that assigns damage like this to the 18th Dynasty and see if there isn't some– the Met has promised me the opportunity to look at Winlock's notes directly to see if it's really true that they come out of a sealed 18th Dynasty context At the very least, we have to admit that objects that were made in the time of Hatshepsut and that were damaged were not necessarily damaged immediately after Hatshepsut's death And this is Brooklyn's stature of Senenmut where Senenmut's name has been removed over and over again, which, again, is not so unusual And when I first looked at this, I thought oh, yeah, somebody was going to reuse it It's a great statue, the nose is in perfect condition, the whole body is in wonderful condition

And so they just removed the name so they could put their own name there But the other thing, whoever removed Senenmut's name was to remove every mention of the god Amun Now, Senenmut had a lot of titles associated with the god Amun, so I am proposing that actually the damage to this statue took place during the Amarna period The period we're just about ready to talk about where a king named Akhenaten, as part of his new religion, removed, wherever he could, the name of Amun I'll also just throw out for my Egyptologist friends out there, what does Senenmut even mean? "Senenmut," I mean, if you would give it to a first year student, he or she would say, the brother of Mut, the goddess Mut

Well, who is the brother of the goddess Mut? And of course "sen" or "senate," the words for "brother" and "sister" also can mean "husband" or "wife," especially in the 18th Dynasty And so the husband of Mut is Amun And a good Amarna scribe would have known that as well So that eliminating Senenmut's name is very close to eliminating Amun's name So I think we have to at least admit the possibility that objects made and Hatshepsut's time could have been damaged way after the time of Thutmose III

Now Akhenaten's who you see here with his queen, Nefertiti His new religion was committed to the idea that there was only one god, and that god he called the Aten, the disk of the sun And he declared that that was the only God because that was the only Egyptian god which did not die And he purposely removed the name of Amun in many, many places Not every single place, that would have been impossible, but in many, many places

So I use this as an example, this stela from a tomb of a man whose name probably was Amun M-het but all that's left is M-het all over the place And there are enough traces I think so that you can identify his name originally as Amun M-het And this act, the removal of Amun seems, to me, very fairly secure as a dating mechanism for when the damage, especially to an inscription, was done Now, Akhenaten built a series of new temples with a new building method, which used small blocks that one man could carry And we Egyptologists call these blocks talatat And these buildings, there were five temples outside of Karnak

This is from the Gempaaten, which was just outside the Eastern gate of the Karnak Temple And then there were also temples, perhaps there were temples in middle Egypt, in Hermopolis Or perhaps the blocks that we have from this time period that we find in Hermopolis, maybe they actually came from Amarna, that's another question But the main thing is that when Akhenaten disappeared, very soon after that, all of his buildings were torn down and were used as fill The blocks from the Gempaaten ended up in the seventh pylon built at Karnak built by Horemheb, a king that comes three kings after Akhenaten, but a very short time period after Akhenaten And so we find these talatat in the temples built later, and so we know they were torn down in antiquity

So one of the talatat that I wanted to use in the exhibition was this Brooklyn talatat, which actually comes from Hermopolis And as I was studying it, there are two things that pop out The fact that the princess' head remains There she is, she's still there No one's worried about her, whereas the king's is removed, his face, his arm is damaged

So that he's supposed to be making offerings, but if he's got a broken arm, he can't make offerings And also his name has been removed here and here There was also an inscription over here originally The only word left is "give," and so it must be a description of what Akhenaten and the princess are giving to the Aten, Akhenaten's god But remember, the temple in which this block was once a part has been completely disassembled and used, actually by Ramses II, as rubble to fill up the foundation, OK? So my question is, why did you have to go to so much trouble? There's a lot of work here

Remove the inscription, carefully remove Akhenaten's name, remove part of his arm and break it Why would they have to do this if they were tearing down the building anyhow? Well, the first thing for me was the realization that the Egyptians really, really believe these things You can say and teach for 30 years, "the Egyptians believed that these objects were inhabited by supernatural forces" But when you see something like this, it makes you understand this was reality for the ancient Egyptians And so my hypothesis, which I can never prove, but the thing that sort of comforts me that the reason somebody was sent with a chisel to do all this work is workmen who believe these things are not going to knock down a building as long as it's still quote unquote "working

" As long as Akhenaten has power because the image exists, workmen are not going to knock down his building Once it's safely disabled and Akhenaten's name is removed, then the workmen cheerfully go about their business of knocking down the building And this is what gave me the idea that most of the damage is actually functional damage That is the things that you see removed, often are related to the function of the statue Now I was particularly interested in– so as I said, these objects are resting our bodies for supernatural forces in this world

And the next question that occurred to me while I was looking at the scribes statue is why his nose? And also I have to tell you that his left arm is restored I hadn't even realized it until we got it up to conservation to go into the exhibition And I said, oh, his left arm is plaster It's all completely– and then we looked in the records and said, oh, yeah, in 1970-something, somebody restored, this the museum restored it But the inscription is intact

His body is hurt, his left arm, his nose is damaged, but the inscription, the prayer, is totally intact And when I looked at this statue, I began to think about the fact that why is it that some statues have damaged inscriptions and they're very precisely damaged? The name is removed, the name of Amun is removed Whereas in other statues, only physical characteristics are bothered, such as the nose or the arm And it made me think about when the knowledge of hieroglyphs was actually lost So in order to be able to identify where the name is, you have to be able to read hieroglyphs

If you don't know how to read hieroglyphs, which by about 400 of the common era, the knowledge of reading hieroglyphs was pretty much lost in Egypt Then, you're going to go after the body parts Then, you're going to be more concerned about the destruction of the disabling of the statue by killing the demon inside Now who would benefit from doing that? I show you here a complete Ptolemaic period coffin lid and what must have once been a very, very beautiful Ptolemaic a coffin lid, which was damaged Who benefits from damaging a coffin like this? So my first thought was during the pharaonic period, tomb robbers

Tomb robbers really believe in this stuff also, right? So it's not enough to just push the coffin lid off in search of amulets on the mummy when you're robbing the tomb, but you also want to go around the tomb making sure that people like Weresu who are trying to curse you, whose inscription I read to you earlier You want to disable his ability to work in this world And the best way to do that is cut off his nose, cut off his arm Cutting off his right arm starves him because in those images where a man or a woman reaches for offerings, they reach with their right hand for the offerings at the offering table Cutting off the nose suffocates him

And if you're a criminal, that's exactly what you intend to do The other large group of people that are interested in damaging the tombs, again, I come back to the monks, the Christian monks Many of the tombs were used as cells for hermit monks in the early Christian period, and, of course, the first thing one of those hermit monks would do is to make sure that the demons– now the way they think about the deceased the way they think about the ancient polytheistic gods, they want to make sure that the demons can't disturb them And in fact, in the texts, they're constantly plagued by demons Although it is not explicitly said, one of the easiest things for them to do to get the demons to stop bothering them is to break off the nose or break off one of the body parts

It is interesting to me too that when the tomb owners statue is damaged– so we see here that the nose is damaged On the statue of the Irukaptah, in Brooklyn, it's only the nose that's damaged There is no inscription, but there's nothing else damaged But the subsidiary figures, like on the side of his chair, his children are shown giving him offerings, they're all totally intact And this happens over and over again

Here this is also Irukaptah and the main figures nose has been removed but his son and his wife, who accompany him, they're totally intact And this I believe is because tomb robbers are really only concerned about the owner of the tomb or at least this is a hint that perhaps that might be true Now, in statues that might have been located in a temple, we see a similar pattern I show you a statue of Ptolemy II on your left to give you an idea of what is missing from the statue of Nectanebo on your right You can see how the important royal symbols have been removed

The uraeus, which is also a little bit damaged here is completely gone right here The nose is gone and the ears are gone as well Also these royal symbols, which gave power to the king, or indicated the power of the king also are neutralized by damaging it in this way Now, I also mentioned the importance of which hand is missing And here, I show you two black statues, one nearly complete one and a damaged one of man named Min, mostly just to give you an idea of what this would have originally looked like

I was very impressed by an article by Emmanuel Jambon, "The Cashette de Karnak," a particular site where you have the burial of a very large number of statues, and he talks about the fact that all the kneeling statues of the king have their left hands removed All of them This is very strange and he notices this and he says, it's unclear to me why that would happen But it is, and this made me think especially of this statue So the kneeling statues have their left hands removed when they're kings

The kneeling statue of a man that we have, this is just a man named Seti, his left arm is also the only thing that's been removed And this made me begin to think again about the way hands are shown in tombs where in the standard scene, not in every single scene but in the standard scene, the deceased sits on a chair and reaches toward the offering table with his right hand and takes the offerings Whereas those who are making offerings to him and who are facing him are actually extending their left hands So it's right hand takes and left hand gives Putting that together with the fact that these kneeling statues, which all show the subject making an offering to a god or to a king, made me begin to wonder if this handedness also doesn't help us understand what the function of the damage is

So that by removing the left hand here, this man named Seti, who is praying to a god, to a sun god actually, it doesn't disable the statue and keep it from actually performing its function The same could be said of this statue on your left, the overseer of the treasury to Hotep whose statue once resembled the statue of Hor, son of Pawen on your right Originally, he would have had a head, of course, and he would have had two arms And then, on the front, he would have held a shrine as Pawen does right here And that would have been right here

And this offering of a shrine is a ritual act that would take place in a temple And he's offering a shrine to a god Notice that it is also– once again, it's Ptahhotep's left arm that has been more rigorously damaged And this is, I think, because he's making offerings There are also cases where things break because of the nature of the stone

I admit that not every statue will fit into my theory, and I would be surprised if my theory were completely all explanatory These sedimentary stones often just crack along the edge of the plane of the sediments They've done more damage to his left but they've also– Simon Connor looked at the statue with me and he said, yeah, they went right for the neck and they seem to have removed the right arm at the same time as they removed the neck The other thing is, I began to ask myself questions about well, why is it that sometimes they just remove the nose and that's enough, but other times they feel like they have to do the entire head? They have to decapitate the statue Very conveniently, in Brooklyn, we have these two scribe statues from approximately the same period

They're in many ways very, very similar And on your left, Amenhotep's son of Nebiry has no nose, he's otherwise intact But his poor friend, Djehuty, who lived approximately the same time, he lost his entire head So why is that the case? And then when I was looking at it and I went around to look at the back of it, and I had been talking to two people who've been doing experimental work with carving Egyptian statues and trying to figure out what the chisels look like And the thing that I took away from that research was it's really hard to cut something

It's really hard to cut this stone And when I talked to her about damage, she said, you can't just pick up a chisel and start removing the head It's hard to remove the head, you have to know how to use a chisel And so it occurred to me that Amenhotep's long hair on the back created so much more stone at his neck that it protected his neck Whereas the poor Djehuty had a short hairstyle

His neck was relatively thin and was just a whole lot less work to decapitate him than it was to decapitate the other one Finally, I want to talk about– just say one word about what happens after the early Christian period Anyone who's ever visited old Cairo knows that in the Islamic period, which starts in the seventh century and continues until our own day, but especially in the eighth, ninth century Anyone who's visited old Cairo knows that old pieces of antiquities get carved into block shapes and are inserted into walls and used as building material They may give some prestige to a building because it has something very old in it but basically they're building material

And so when I was looking at the statue of Khaemwaset, who served as crown prince for Ramses II for about four years and then he pre-deceased Ramses II, Simon Connor pointed out to me, this is just a cube This could have been made this way in the Islamic period And I can't really prove that, but it does serve as a real great example of what was going on in the Islamic period But it also tells us that by the Islamic period, this idea that these statues are inhabited by supernatural forces, is largely forgotten And so that Muslims are not nearly as afraid of these images as people were in the fourth century or in the fifth century when everyone could remember exactly what their not so distant ancestors had been doing with these statues

So I leave you with that thought In the end, I find that this project has really changed the way I look at an Egyptian statue I used to look at it and, as I was trained, imagined what it looked like originally But the visitors to the Brooklyn Museum have taught me to look at what's actually there and, maybe even more importantly, what's not there And I realized that my education had blinded me to what's actually right in front of my face

And so I'd like to end by thanking those visitors who have constantly asked me that question, and I hope that this will be a satisfying answer for at least some of them Thank you very much [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]

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