The Louvre statue of “Amun protecting Tutankhamun”

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Amun protecting Tutankhamun The god Amon protects Tutankhamun. His successors broke the arms of the god to cease the protection, the head and the arms of the pharaoh because they thought that he belonged to the heretic period of the replacement of the god Amon by the god Aton. Wikimedia Commons

A fascinating legacy of ancient Egypt. Here is again a brilliant article, by Marie Grillot, about this amazing discovery. With thanks. 🙏💖

https://egyptophile.blogspot.com/2019/02/la-statue-du-louvre-amon-protegeant.html via https://egyptophile.blogspot.com/

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.
Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857
Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent
Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

Dated 1336 – 1327 BC, 2.15 m high, this statue is carved in the round from a block of very dark diorite. The “polish”, as impeccable as it is admirable, given to it by the sculptor seems to have attenuated its dark side, even giving it a shiny appearance. Georges Bénédite, who devoted a long study to this statue, brings this clarification: “We see at the top of the supporting pillar like a trail of pink granite, the witness of the vast syenite bank where the black rock flow was imprisoned”.

The statuary group represents the god Amun, seated on a cubic throne, with his hands resting as a sign of protection on the shoulders of Tutankhamun, who is standing in front of him and who is represented on a much smaller scale.

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.
Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857
Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent
Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

The face of the god, in an exceptional state of preservation, is perfectly symmetrical; he has an expression that is both gentle and distant at the same time. “Theban Amon is represented here in his canonical form, that is to say with his human face and the crown that characterizes him, made of a flat mortar surmounted by high feathers”.

Her cheeks are rather round, her eyes are almond-shaped. Her nose is thin and her mouth with full lips is small. He wears a braided false beard, slightly curved at the end. His neck is adorned with a six-row ousekh collar.

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.
Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857
Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent
Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

He is dressed in a tunic – or corselet – whose straps and braid are decorated with delicately chiselled friezes. The pleated loincloth leaves the navel visible. It is held at the waist by a nicely crafted belt which has an oval pattern in its centre under which is reproduced an Isis knot.

His body is of ideal proportions, with square shoulders and: “powerful legs, which help to accentuate the impression of strength and stability”.

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.
Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857
Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent
Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

The “symbolism” of the statue lies in the attitude that the god manifests to the sovereign: he, in fact, gives him “the investiture, because, the divine gesture is both of protection and presentation”. As Jacques Vandier translates it so well: “Amon stretches out his arms and puts his hands on the king’s arms. The divine hands were intentionally broken by sectarians who wanted, thereby, to prevent the divine fluid from permeating the former partisan of Aten. They also are who, without doubt, beheaded Tutankhamun “.

Of his head, broken at the base of the neck, only the two sides of the royal nemes remain.

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.

Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857

Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent

Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

The young king’s body is small, almost fragile. His arms were also damaged, but what remains allows us to see that his hands were laid flat on his loincloth.

He is dressed in the “costume of the priests of Amun, belted starched loincloth and feline skin on the left shoulder. He is shod in sandals and adorned with a wide collar.”

The destructive madness did not go so far as to destroy: “the cartridges inscribed on an adornment of the garment, suspended from the belt to the right of the loincloth” which name it …

Statue of Amun in the guise of Tutankhamun – limestone -18th Dynasty.
Provenance: Temple of Amun Karnak – Discovered in 1904 in La Cachette, north of the 7th pylon (K.535)
Louqsor Museum J. 198 (Cairo Museum JE 38689)

But Egyptologists would most certainly have identified it in analogy with other of its representations, so much the features of the god: “are the exact reflection; the soft, feminized face, generally characterizes the portraits of this dynasty”. This interpretation is thus further developed in the work “Ancient Egypt at the Louvre”: “The face of the god reproduces the characteristic physiognomy of the sovereign that many of his statues make known to us: that of a teenager whose cheeks are round and the full mouth with sinuous lips underline the youth, the expression remains however slightly melancholy. “

This statue, victim of the religious conflicts of a tormented time, was most certainly deposited, – perhaps even thrown – in a hiding place of the temple of Karnak …

It will not emerge until many centuries later and then, will begin the second part of its history …

Auguste Mariette
(February 12, 1821, Boulogne-sur-Mer – January 18, 1881, Cairo)

In the fall of 1857, six years after having discovered the Serapeum and after a “return” to France of three “long” years, Auguste Mariette finally returned to Egypt …

Its mission, “arranged” by Ferdinand de Lesseps, aims “official” to prepare the trip of Prince Napoleon (cousin “undisciplined” of Emperor Napoleon III, known by the nickname of Plon-Plon).

Saïd Pasha, who wishes to maintain the best possible relations with France, is delighted to receive this member of the imperial family, presented as: “a great art lover who would be keen to visit the monuments of Egypt and bring back some antiques “.

Prince Napoleon (dit Plonplon) (1822-1891) – Photo by Disderi

Also, for the organization of this princely stay, he gives “carte blanche” to Mariette. The latter will write to Ferdinand de Lesseps: “I think that with the instruments which have been placed in my hands, I will succeed in satisfying the viceroy and in procuring for Prince Napoleon some good monuments to take away” …

Worksites will be opened in Giza, Sakkara, Abydos, Elephantine, and Thebes. It is in this context that, during the excavations carried out in Karnak, the statue will be discovered.

The prince ultimately will not come to Egypt. In a kind of “diplomatic compensation” for this cancellation, his close advisers will encourage him to acquire the collection of antiquities made up for him. But, in his munificence, “Saïd Pasha refuses any payment and asks the excavator-diplomat (Mariette) to choose himself what will be offered to the Prince”.

It is thus as a “diplomatic gift” that the statue of Amun protecting Tutankhamun joined the collections of the Prince. Did he intend it for his Parisian mansion on Avenue Montaigne? Or at its Prangins Castle in Switzerland? Both hypotheses are mentioned. It is certain that a decade later – in 1868 precisely – it is presented and described by Wilhelm Fröhner, under number 520, of the “Catalog of a collection of antiquities of Prince Napoleon-Jérôme Bonaparte”: “Ammon, (seated statue in black granite), with a pointed beard, dressed in schenti, his arms glued to his body, is seated on a seat. Dedicatory inscription: He wears a mitre, surmounted by feathers around his neck, and below the breast, some bands can be compared in part to the Greek ketos. The god holds before him the statuette of King Amen-Toutanch (of the Eighteenth Dynasty), dressed in a pleated apron and lion skin… “.

It is useful to remember here that Tutankhamun’s tomb will not be discovered until 54 years later!

The god Amun protects Tutankhamun – 1336 – 1327 BC – diorite.
Statue discovered by Auguste Mariette in Karnak in 1857
Collection of Prince Napoleon then Maison Feuardent
Acquired by the Louvre Museum in February 1920 – E 11609

The statuary group will be acquired by the renowned French antique dealers Camille Rollin and Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent, the “Maison Rollin & Feuardent”. Then after being located at 12 rue Vivienne (Paris 2nd). On the death of C. Rollin the activity will continue at 4 rue de Louvois, but under the name of “Feuardent Frères”. It was in February 1920, at the instigation of its curator Georges Bénédite, that the Egyptian Antiquities Department of the Louvre purchased this statue from them.

Registered in the collections under the reference E 11609, it “welcomed” visitors during the great exhibition “Tutankhamun, the Pharaoh’s treasure” in Paris.

Marie Grillot

Sources:

Statue of Amun and Tutankhamun http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/cartelfr/visite?srv=car_not_frame&idNotice=14663&langue=fr

Amon et Toutânkhamon (concerning a group acquired by the Egyptian Louvre Museum), Georges BénéditeMonuments and memories of the Eugène Piot Foundation Year 1920 24-1-2 pp. 47-68 https://www.persee.fr/doc/piot_1148-6023_1920_num_24_1_1806

Egyptian statues from the New Kingdom in the Louvre: a summary, Christophe Barbotin https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01880296/document

Egyptian statues from the New Kingdom. 1, Royal and divine statues, Christophe Barbotin Christophe, Louvre Museum, 2007

Ancient Egypt in the Louvre, Guillemette Andreux, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Christiane Ziegler, Hachette, 1997

National Museums Archives, Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum (AE series)Detailed digital directory number 20144775

https://www.siv.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/siv/rechercheconsultation/consultation/ir/pdfIR.action?irId=FRAN_IR_053905

Interview with Vincent Rondot – Press kit for the exhibition “Tutankhamun, the Pharaoh’s treasure” at La Villette Manual of Egyptian archeology, volume III, The great times, statuary, 1958 (statue 111.1), Jacques Vandier

Tutankhamun, Marc Gabolde

Mariette Pacha, 1821-1881, Elisabeth David, Pygmalion, 1994

Mariette Pacha, Claudine Le Tourneur d’Ison, Plon, 1999

A letter written from Egypt by Mr. Mariette, Emmanuel de Rougé

Minutes of the meetings of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres Year 1858 2 pp. 115-121

https://www.persee.fr/doc/crai_0065-0536_1858_num_2_1_66047 http://napoleonland.over-blog.net/article-12208373.html

Catalog of a collection of antiques [of Prince Napoleon-Jérôme Bonaparte], by M. Fröhner, Publisher: impr. by A. Pillet eldest son (Paris), 1868

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6524839t.texteImage

6 thoughts on “The Louvre statue of “Amun protecting Tutankhamun”

  1. This is a truly fascinating article Aladin. Thank you for sharing more of Marie’s Egyptian studies. You know I’m deeply struck by the beauty, grace and shine of this statue. In so many ways the craftmanship still blows my mind, all these thousands and thousands of years later … because this could be a modern day statue, such is the excellence of its creation. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. elainemansfield

    Such beauty, harmony, and protection in this ancient statue. Thank you, Aladin. I love this image. I’m sorry so many Egyptian artworks were dispersed throughout the world, but I’m grateful for each one I’ve seen.

    Liked by 1 person

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