To compare the relief from the tomb of Hesira to that of Sheshe Nefer is an interesting assessment indeed, for the subjects of these two reliefs in particular are somewhat dissimilar, and, thus, the methods of depiction are somewhat different. There are undeniably dissimilarities found in the two reliefs; however, overall, they both successfully depict the human form in a parallel, if not exactly equal, manner.
The disparity between the two is owed partly to the fact that the relief from the tomb of Hesira depicts the deceased subject and, consequently, the honored being. In the case of the relief from Sheshe Nefer’s tomb, the subjects are the lowest of the low; merely there to serve the person whose tomb they are chiseled in.
The relief in the tomb of Hesira depicts a stately figure, one whose high social rank is made apparent at first glance. The artist achieves this portrayal in illustrating the subject’s body in a graceful, poised stance. Not only is his body depicted with great attention to detail, but his face is also shown with that same level of care. The musculature is carried out with great skill, and the body displays sleek athleticism, a perfect body that will be ready to travel to and through the afterlife. In both hands, Hesira holds objects, perhaps maces or rods, which proclaim his status. Accompanying these indications one can see above his head some hieroglyphs, certainly telling of his rank. Writing held great importance to the early Egyptians, and, thus, this writing is a most important attribution to Hesira that had to be prominently displayed, and very close to Hesira. Here, Hesira is likely the determinative of these hieroglyphs, emphasizing even further the fact th...
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...ent, it was purposely done so to create a clear image of the person(s) it presented with their rank plainly illustrated. More detail and beauty was bestowed upon the art representing the upper classes and royal figures while any element that showed consideration for the lower classes was simply there to play a part for the rich owner of the tomb it was created for. It is a sad reality but one that must be faced in order to really appreciate the approaches chosen by the artists of ancient Egypt. Regardless of the disparity, each work is incredibly successful in showing the subjects exactly how they would or should be viewed in real life during the time it was created. It is this remarkable accuracy that breaks the barrier of the stiff figures and reaches out to the viewer with a marvelous reality that creates just the sort of image in one’s mind it was meant to form.
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