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Web of Art 15: African Interactions

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Temple of Hatshepsut. Boat from Journey to Punt.
15th c BCE Egyptian Egyptian New Kingdom Painting

EGYPTIAN XVIII DYNASTY Anonymous (aka Eighteenth Dynasty Anonymous; 18th Dynasty (c.1570 BCE - 1293 BCE) Primary
c. 1473 BCE-1458 BCE
15th c BCE
Gypsum; tempera
Egyptian New Kingdom
Deir el-Bahari. Egypt.
Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt sent an expedition to a country in black Africa known as Punt which is portrayed on the face of her temple tomb at Deir-el-Bahari. Here we see a few details of the representation, which included full textual and pictorial descriptions of the journey. On the top is an detail of the ship, a large vessel fitted with a sail as well as rowers . The ship is represented on the return trip, for other details show a lion and one of the many exotic trees that Hetshepsut had ordered to decorate the courtyard of her temple. The most interesting was a depiction of the QUEEN OF PUNT. The artist did a sketch of the queen on a piece of pottery, which is represented here. The artist was clearly interested in the short thick body of the queen, who is represented with steatopygia, or pronounced buttocks, found in some African groups. Another possibility is that the artist was copying an African figure, which, as wel will see, used much different conventions for depicting the human figure, commonly giving the head a three to one ratio to the body rather than the seven to one more common in Western art. The text indicates that the journey was to Punt, the "land of incense." We still do not know exactly where Punt was located. Some have suggested Somalia, others Eritrea, while others think that the mysterious Punt may be identified with Kush/Nubia.

Caption: EGYPTIAN XVIII DYNASTY | Temple of Hatshepsut. Boat from Journey to Punt. | 15th c BCE | Egyptian | Egyptian New Kingdom
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