The other type of eye seen in figs. 33, 35 may be called the narrow eye. This seems to belong mainly to the Middle Kingdom, and is seen in Senusert III, Amenemhat III, Queen Nofert, and Noferhotep. It is perhaps unknown at an earlier age; and later it rarely occurs, but may be seen in Merenptah, and somewhat in Mentu-em-hat and some portraits of the XXVIth dynasty. These remarks are merely to draw attention to a detail which is easily observed and seldom defaced; but for drawing conclusions an extensive study is needed of all the varieties of form and treatment, not only of the eye, but also of the lips, nostrils, ears, and hair. How far such detail belonged to the subject, and how much is due to artistic conventions, we cannot yet say; but from the similarities of portraits of the same person it seems probable that the details are really due to differences of type.
We now have a very difficult question to state as to the origin of the remarkable type of fig. 34. This is one of the class of sphinxes and statues commonly described as being of the Hyksos. Yet, as the Hyksos kings' names are roughly cut on the shoulders of the sphinxes, they are clearly not the original inscriptions; and, as clearly, these figures are older than the Hyksos. The type is distinguished by an extreme muscularity of the face, deeply cut, powerful lips with strong flexures, and the long nose, not very prominent, but broad. All these points are much in excess of such features on any statue of a named Egyptian king. Some similarities may be seen in the type of Senusert III and Amenemhat III (figs. 33, 35); but these latter are much less strong and unconventional. It is probable that some of the stock of fig. 34 has gone to form the type of figs. 33 and 35, but it is impossible to see in them a uniform single type. It seems most probable that fig. 34 belongs to an invading people from Syria during the decadence of the Old Kingdom, between the VIIth and Xth dynasties; but until some example with an original name may be found, it is useless to be more definite. It is noticeable how all of the heads of this type are in black granite, or rarely some other igneous rock; this suggests that they were wrought by the school of the eastern desert, and may therefore not be controlled by the decadence of ordinary Egyptian work between the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
32. Senusert I 34. Foreign type.
33. Senusert III 35. Amenemhat III.
Whether other strange works in black granite - such as the fish-offerers of Tanis - belong to the same age, has been questioned. It may be noted, however, that the sphinxes and the black granite bust from Alexandria have a large lachrymal fossa, while the fish-offerers have no fossa, but only an inner angle to the eye. The so-called Hyksos figures from Bubastis are not really of this type, but show an inheritance of some of its characters, such as belong to the royal family in the XIIth dynasty. Whenever the royal portraiture of the Xllth dynasty is fully collected and studied, it will be possible to clear the attribution of many statues, and so to separate those which really belong to the earlier stock.
On coming to the XVIIIth dynasty a more mechanical style prevails (figs. 36 - 39). This is obvious in the formal raised band of eyebrow, and the eyes being brought forward to the plane of the forehead. The lips remain more natural, and are still treated expressively. The best work of this age is the green basalt statue of Tahutmes III in Cairo (fig. 37). It accords closely with another figure of black granite of the same king; but the red granite head in the British Museum is much coarser and less expressive, as is natural from that school of granite work. The large nose is vouched for as a family characteristic in the reliefs of Tahutmes II and Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, which have precisely the same outline of brow and nose; the under-side of the nose, the slightly rising curve of the lips to the outer corner, and the flatness of the facing of the lips, seem to be individual details.
The head fig. 36 is of an official of Amenhotep III, in quartzite. It has a fairly good outline of the cheek, and well-cut lips; and it shows the more florid and romantic turn of this age in the wavy hair marked out with lines.
Under Akhenaten (fig. 39) there came a revolution of art, which was perhaps only a culmination of the naturalistic tendencies that were growing during the preceding reigns. But it was enforced and supported by the surrounding changes in religion, ethics, and politics which were carried out by the humanist reformer who ruled. It was probably also stimulated by the influence of the contemporary art of Crete and Greece, the whole eastern Mediterranean apparently sharing in a general movement. We shall notice this further when considering reliefs and painting. Of round sculpture the best figure remaining is that of Akhenaten now in Paris (fig. 39). It has been part of a group of the king and queen sitting together, and it shows all the characteristics of this school in the best form. The eyes are quite natural; the lips are emphasised by a sharp edge along their borders; the jaw and neck are excellently rendered; and the ear, with its large pierced lobe, is clearly true to life.
Though the reforms of Akhenaten mostly perished with him, yet the training of his artists is still to be seen in the sculpture of Tut-ankh-amen (fig. 38). This has not the professional completeness of style seen under Tahutmes III (fig. 37), but it carries on the less precise sentimentalism of Akhenaten (fig. 39), with much feeling for expression and beauty, but a lack of grip and force. The brow is neglected, the eye is feeble, the cheek is without detail, but the lips and chin are enforced as far as possible. The whole effect is sweet but not impressive.
36. Under Amenhotep III 38. Tutankhamen.
37. Tahutmes III 39. Akhenaten.
New Kingdom Sculpture 40
Wood-carvings of girls (XVIIIth dynasty).