The Statue of the Egyptian Scribe Haremhab


The statue of the Egyptian scribe Haremhab was sculpted in the 13th century of the Egyptian dynasty. The artist remains unknown but it is alleged that the statue was created according to Haremhab's orders while he was still a general and administrator in the Egyptian government. The statue shows him seated on the ground in the same manner scribes did in that era. His legs are crossed and on his lap is a scroll with Egyptian writing, supposedly a hymn to the Egyptian god of scribes. His back sits hunched over and beside his crossed legs is a tub of ink. On his right hand was once a brush made of reeds that was used as a pen. The presence of a scroll and pen probably go to show that he was a literate man.

His attire is characterized by an elongated tunic of expensive cloth that ends at the shoulders and leaves out rolls of fat on his belly; this probably shows prime of life and the wealth of the official. Pleats have been articulately pressed into the sleeves of the garment that cover the arms adequately. The scribe has a pleated kilt like garment on the lower portion of his body that covers his thighs and knees in a linear manner. The kilt has been wrapped around his waist and tied in a knot at the back of his torso. Unlike his chest, legs and arms which are smoothed out, the other pats of his body are rugged and rough. An equal dissimilarity is done between the carefully carved out facial features and the ornately decorated wig.

The triangular structure of the statue is realized at the upper limbs and elbows, and the scribe's general symmetry is distorted by the one-sided sloping of the right limb. With the use of such technique, the artist was able to instill a basically inert posture with tension and vigor. Alike effects were achieved in the head and face by placing the childlike rounded facial appearance in contrast to the hooded eyes of an intellectual with a gaunt, almost unkindly sculpted jaw and chin. Even with its grace and beauty, this is unquestionably the representation of a force to be reckoned with.

The stable base forms a vital component of the entire work of art, lifting the statue and simultaneously contrasting its wealthy detail with the stand's simple structure and even surface. The stand is emblazoned with further holy writing: prayers to the gods Thoth, Sakhmet, Ptah Sokar, and Osiris. The last two gods are said to symbolize decease and rebirth, and it alleged that the figure was originally commissioned for the scribe's tomb. On the other hand, it is possible that the sculpture was created for the many Egyptian temples that preserved their history.

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The material used to sculpt Haremhab the Scribe is of a robust stone that seems to be granite. The life-sized sculpture of the scribe is emblematic of the Egyptian era using the visual effect that informs of the physical features and culture of men in early Egypt .The examination of aspects of cut, color, light, shade, consistency, and composition of the Haremhab is vital in valuing the art of the era. Several elements comprise the figure of Haremhab the Scribe. Nearly all of them are readily seen and give profundity to the sculpture. As mentioned, the head piece is characterized by pleated lines that are unduly wide therefore do not attest to definite hair.

Whereas it is not mainly realistic, it does draw awareness to an age that could be seen as indeterminate. The pleats on the sleeves and kilt of the garment endeavor to bring a precise feel of the item of clothing that is worn by Haremhab. Apart from natural grayish color of the stone seen in Haremhab the Scribe, a shadowy green color is also noticeable with minor yellowish flecks throughout the stone. The yellow in point of fact gives the idea of age to the piece of art, but it is significant in giving depth too. If the stone were only one color, it would seem unexciting. The general power of the color is dulled or shadowed by its maturity; nonetheless there is indication that it has once been dazzling.

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The use of luminosity and shadows are in all probability the most significant components of this figure in view of the fact that the granite still has its natural color and has not been changed by artificial paint. There is a substantial quantity of shadow below the jaw, the sleeves of the cloth, and in the void of the kilt where the limbs are traversed. The point of the shadows in the various locations is to produce a sense of actuality. If an individual is actually illuminated, then there would at all times be portions of them that would be shadowed. Since Haremhab is seated, there would be added shadow compared to if he was standing due to the pleats of his clothing items and overlapping. In addition, texture plays a major part in the scribe's sculpture. In general, it is rough, but not only because of the granite that was employed which lacks shine, but by the upshots of time and weathering. While part of it is because of natural causes, coarseness is also blamed on the sculptor. The cloth of Haremhab is ribbed to symbolize the fabric used for attire at the time, in particular pleating of the clothing worn by the wealthy and respected populace of ancient Egypt.

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The granitic sculpture of Haremhab the scribe is an elegant representation of the history, culture and ideals of ancient Egyptian times. The stance taken by the figure, the various items and characteristics of clothing, the inscriptions and texts on the stone and scroll held in his left hand and the missing pen made of reeds is a picturesque and innovative method on edifying many on the histories of different cultures. Although the wise and shrewd general of the Egyptian government went on to become pharaoh, his sculpture while still in the lower ranks of government still remains significant both in North African and world history.

Not only is the piece of art vital in political history but also signifies great paradigms of religious practices. The engraved hieroglyphics dedicated to the Egyptian gods gives great insight on the methods of prayer, worship and sacrifice of the peoples of ancient Egypt. The sculpture reveals the immense political and religious leadership provided by the scribe Haremhab and his efforts as a government official. The renowned three dimensional figure of Haremhab is a prized component of medieval art from Egypt should not be confined to the subjects region but should be taken as deep representation of general pre modern art.


Generally, the sculpture triggers thoughts of spiritualism while invoking the deep inner man that only is revealed when true art presents itself. The cool pastels and stances in any picture or figure of art should give out an aura of peace, wisdom and authenticity and the Scribe of Haremhab accomplishes this with ease. All in all, art whether archaic or modern has the impact of speaking to the artist within any individual and Haremhab is no exception.

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