Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
During the late Old Kingdom, six different pharaohs erected nearly life-size, limestone statues of kneeling, bound captives inside their pyramid complexes. These statues are commonly known as prisoner statues, and they were a major part of the monument’s decoration. This talk will focus on the prisoner statues of King Pepi I. These prisoner statues were highly unusual in two important ways. First, they portray generic foreign enemies rather than specific ethnicities, as is typical in Egyptian art. Secondly, the statues were never meant to remain intact; instead, Pepi I’s artists methodically decapitated and butchered them. In their decapitated form, Pepi I’s prisoner statues were ritual offerings and monumental images of the deceased king’s annihilated enemies.