Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Josef Wegner

Abstract

The distinctive sculptural image of Senwosret III has attracted attention since its first appearance. Unfortunately, a general lack of inscriptional or chronological data makes it difficult to situate key examples within his reign. A series of debates that surround his reign length and the possible existence of a number of coregencies that span virtually the entire 12th Dynasty further compound these concerns. The issue of coregencies remains controversial; recently it has become fashionable to categorically deny their existence. However, such a viewpoint denies the complexity of the data. Despite the ambiguity of the dated material, when considered in conjunction with the archaeological, chronological, and art historical evidence the practice cannot be ruled out. Though many have accepted coregencies as an important aspect of Middle Kingdom governance, few have examined how the Egyptians may have expressed such a concept in art historical terms. The large and distinctive body of statuary dated to Senwosret III and Amenemhet III offers the perfect case study. This dissertation presents both a comprehensive accounting of the evidence for coregency during the 12th Dynasty and a synthesis of the full corpus of royal sculpture attributed to Senwosret and Amenemhet III. It examines a total of 73 statues/fragments of Senwosret III that reflect two main stylistic variants: the Early Style and the Later Style. The Early Style is attributed to the king's sole-reign and reflects, in face and body, the style of his predecessor, Senwosret II. The Later Style is more exaggerated, with a body type that continues into the reign of Amenemhet III. The corpus includes six geographic series and three stylistic groups. It also takes into account 92 examples from the reign of Amenemhet III, which include seven geographic series and three stylistic groups. Using architectural dating, iconographic details, and textual references these groups are then attributed chronologically. The evidence indicates that by the reign of Senwosret III the kings of the 12th Dynasty had developed a textual, religious, and visual program involving a number of distinctive portrait types that served to convey the central political and cultural messages of the period, including the practice of coregency.

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