King Menkaure and Kha-mere-nebty II Detailed

Egypt (Old Kingdom): King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and his Queen, Kha-mere-nebty II, Detail: ca. 2548-2530 B.C. Menkaure is portrayed in the familiar Egyptian pose standing as if at attention with his left leg extended forward, his arms held stiff at his sides, and his fists clenched holding some unidentified cylindrical objects. His stance appears assertive, indicative of his power. He is represented as a mature yet vigorous man, perhaps in his thirties, with slender hips, broad shoulders, and well-developed arms. His body has been made to appear lifelike and, except, as is common to all Egyptian statues, in such areas as the knees, which are over-emphasized, and the edge of the shin-bone, which is too sharp, is anatomically correct. Overall, he appears to represent the ideal of manly beauty in Old Kingdom Egypt. Menkaure's face also appears to have been idealized, though its features, which are not particularly refined or aristocratic looking, have been particularized to the degree that it strikes us as being a portrait. Projecting from his chin is a short transversely striped, squared-off, wedge-shaped ceremonial beard. On his head he wears a nemes, or headdress, the sides of which are pulled back behind his rather large ears, with the lappets falling to either side of his chest. The beard and the headdress are the primary symbols of his pharaonic status. Besides the headdress, the only other article of clothing he wears is a shendjyt kilt which is folded across the front, with one end falling down beneath, and held in place with a belt round his waist.

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