Rare Egyptian princess statue found guarding a Luxor temple
Archaeologists have uncovered a mysterious giant statue of an Egyptian princess guarding a temple outside the southern city of Luxor in Egypt. The 6.5 feet tall statue, which dates back more than 2,300 years, is believed to be part of a massive 456 feet tall statue that guarded the entrance to a temple.
The statue depicts Princess Iset, daughter of King Amenhotep III, who reigned from 1390 – 1352 BC, when Egypt had become the richest and most powerful nation on earth through war and conquest. It is the first time that a sculpture has been found that depicts the princess alone with King Amenhotep III; others show her with her two parents and her brothers.
The reign of Amenhotep III marked the zenith of ancient Egyptian civilisation, both in terms of political power and cultural achievement, under his 36 year reign. Countries like Babylonia, Assyria, and Mitani were emerging as potential new rivals, and Amenhotep began writing to the other rulers of the Near East, carving letters on small stones that messengers took to foreign princes. The Amarna letters, as they became known after they were found in 1887, were the key to Amenhotep's success, especially when backed up with gifts from Egypt's great wealth.
“The statue is part of a 14-metre-high (46-foot) alabaster sculpture of Amenhotep III that was at the entrance of the temple sanctuary,” team head Dr Hourig Sourouzian said. The sculpture features the 18th Dynasty ruler on his throne, his hands on his knees, his daughter standing between his legs, wearing a wig and a long tunic and holding a necklace in her right hand.
Archaeologists uncovered the statue next to the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, who was worshipped as a deity after his death. The princess's name and her titles, among them 'Love of her father', were carved on the statue.
Featured image: The newly discovered statue of Princess Iset. Photo credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities