Thursday, June 22, 2006

Queen Tiye

Well -- here it is -- my favorite Egyptian sculpture ( but then... I've never been to Egypt)

I always look for it when I'm at the Met -- and now I've discovered that it's someone else's favorite too: the editors of Sculpture Review chose it for the frontispiece of an issue back in the mid-eighties.

It's just a fragment -- and it's only 6" high -- but those lips seem to encompass an entire world of sensuality ( the 18th Dynasty, 1417-1379,to be exact) -- reminding me just why pious Moslem men require their women to wear the burka.

The accompanying essay suggested that if the entire complex piece had survived, it might not be as attractive any more -- and that might be true -- but there's something about suggesting so much with so little that fascinates many of us.

And being shown in the same room with all that ponderous, monumental deadly-serious official portraits might also have something to do with its appeal: it's the closest thing to a smile in the entire Egyptian wing.

(and now I've learned that Queen Tiye was the mother of that most-incredible pharoah, Akhenaten. She was Nubian -- and the first woman to get her name on official royal documents. When the movie about Amarna comes out -- I think she'll be played by Beyonce)


Theodore Shaw


Blogger New York Red said...

I am going to Met to look at it for you, and for myself...

June 23, 2006  

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