Henry Colburn deposited Roman collecting and the biographies of Egyptian Late Period statues in the group Ancient Near East on Humanities Commons 9 months ago
Studies of Egyptian Late Period statuary often assume that the extant corpus is a representative sample of the artistic output of the Twenty-Sixth to Thirty-First Dynasties (c. 664–332 BCE). This assumption ignores the various human processes that affect the survival of statues after their initial dedication. In particular, the Roman practice of collecting Egyptian naophorous statues for reuse in cult spaces of Egyptian gods in Italy has skewed the chronological distribution of the corpus in favour of statues of Twenty-Sixth Dynasty date. This in turn informs perceptions of the Twenty-Seventh Dynasty, the period of Achaemenid rule in Egypt, as being a time of artistic poverty. This paper examines the biographies of Egyptian statues in order to better distinguish between the products of ancient agency and modern scholarly constructs.