Period: Middle Kingdom
Dynasty: Dynasty 12–13
Date: ca. 1981–1640 B.C.
Geography: From Egypt, Memphite Region
Medium: Wood, paint
Dimensions: l. 98 cm (38 9/16 in)
Located at the Metropolitan Museum
Capital with Four Heads
Date: ca. 1225–50
Geography: Made in Apulia, probably Troia, Italy
Medium: Limestone from Apulia
Dimensions: Overall: 14 1/8 x 13 x 13 in. (35.9 x 33 x 33 cm) Base: 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm) Hole for Pin Mount: 9/16 x 2 3/16 in. (1.4 x 5.5 cm) weight: 108lb. (49kg)
Four heads emerge from bunches of acanthus leaves to form the corners of this capital. One is a Moor with tightly curled hair. These heads, which may allude to the Nations of Man, are close in style to examples by Apulian sculptors working for the court of Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen
Located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
makes me want to have at least a day dedicated to showing ancient Egyptians as a diverse African people, with notable black and other non-white ancestry.
The only black people I seen in this movie are servants and a thief; this movie was made just to spite a particular group of people.
I think this is pretty accurate. Although I am confident that ancient Egyptians warriors didn’t wear helmets. Also the the figures look really European.
Ancient Art Week!
Smiling Black Youth
Roman (c. 2nd. Century A.D.)
Bronze, 20.3 cm.
Galerie Mohammad Yeganeh, Frankfurt.
Statuette. Full-length, standing figure of a smiling young black man wearing a short skirt and a bandolier around his chest, his arms and hands positioned as though to hold an object.
The Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University
Head of Buddha
Period: pre-Angkor period
Date: 7th century
Culture: Southern Cambodia
Dimensions: H. 24 in. (61 cm); W. 13 in. (33 cm); D. 12 3/4 (32.4)
This over-life-size head of the Buddha is a testament to the grandeur of the monumental sculptural tradition in the Zhenla kingdom. It was carved from a sandstone characteristic of southern Cambodia, which is consistent with its stylistic assignment to Angkor Borei or a related site. The Buddha has a strong, broad face; lightly modeled eyelids and pupils; and full lips that turn up at the corners in a hint of a smile. The hair curls, like those of other Buddhas of this period and region, are large and flat—a memory of the southern Indian style favored in the early period of contact.
Photo Courtesy and located at the Metropolitan Museum
I realize that this may be outside the purview of this blog, but it’s one of my favorite works of Roman sculpture and I thought you might find in interesting. I’m not an expert in this area by any means, so all I can do to contextualize it is copy the description provided by the Getty Museum:
Captured in the motion of turning his head, the boy portrayed in this Roman portrait exudes the energy and alertness of youth. The head, as seen today, was not intended to be a complete work, but broken from a full-length life-size statue. Portraits of children became more common in Roman art in the later 100s A.D., but the unusual feature of this sculpture is that the child, portrayed in such a sensitive and observant manner, is African. Few Roman portraits of blacks rise beyond racial caricature. Here, the asymmetry in the cheeks and the boy’s concentrated gaze create the impression that an individual personality is being portrayed. Several features of this portrait are characteristic of Roman sculpture in this period, including the interest in depicting movement and the contrast of the smooth skin and the deeply drilled hair.
I’ve been sitting on this submission for quite a while for two reasons. First, it’s Ancient art. Secondly, because the bolded line makes me so mad I could spit.
It’s one of the LEAST true things I can imagine, and during the upcoming Ancient Art week, I’m going to be tearing that particular falsehood down brick by brick. Many Romans were of African descent, as well as Asian, Middle Eastern, et cetera. It was an Empire.
I have no idea what they mean by “racial caricature” since racial categories as we have them today absolutely did not exist during that time. Ethnicity, language, religion, and area of residence was FAR more important to Romans than what we call race.
Also, the head on a pole is super creepy. There are countless other ways this piece could have been displayed….I imagine it’s being displayed with other heads, but still.
Anyways, I’ll be posting many depictions of Roman people of color for my Ancient Art themed week, and you can judge for yourselves whether or not they “rise above racial caricature”.