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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Padiiset’s Statue

Egyptian - Statue of a Vizier, Usurped by Pa-di-iset - Walters Museum

Padiiset’s Statue

Padiiset’s Statue is a basalt statue found in the Egyptian delta which includes an inscription referring to trade between Canaan and Ancient Egypt. It is the last known Ancient Egyptian reference to Canaan. This reference to Canaan is more than 300 years after the previously known inscriptions with the name of Canaan. The statue was created in the 1780-1700 BC period to commemorate a government vizier. A millennium later the original inscription was erased and replaced with inscriptions on the front and back to representing “Pa-di-iset, son of Apy” and worshipping the gods Osiris, Horus, and Isis

The replacement of text, nearly one thousand years after the original text is an example of the re-use of a work of art and reflects Ancient Egypt’s long history as a civilisation. This statue was originally carved to commemorate a powerful government official, then a thousand years later the inscription naming this forgotten man was erased, and a new carved name was added to celebrate its new owner. From the text on the rear of the statue, we learn that Pa-di-iset was a diplomatic messenger to the neighbouring lands of Canaan and Peleset or Palestine.

Egyptian - Statue of a Vizier, Usurped by Pa-di-iset - Walters Art Museum

The rear view of Padiiset’s Statue

The statue measures 30.5 x 10.25 x 11.5 cm and was created in the Middle Kingdom period.

Canaan

Canaan was a Semitic-speaking region in the Eastern Mediterranean during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible. This area covers the peoples of Phoenicia, Philistia, Israel, Moab and other nations. It is by far the most often used ethnic term in the Bible.

Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Egyptian Amarna period (14th century BC) as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite, Mitanni and Assyrian Empires converged.

During the 2nd millennium BC, Ancient Egyptian texts use the term Canaan to refer to an Egyptian-ruled colony, whose boundaries generally corroborate the definition of Canaan found in the Hebrew Bible. There are at least 16 references in Egyptian sources, from the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt onwards to Canaan. Padiiset’s Statue is the last known Egyptian reference to Canaan, more than 300 years after the preceding known inscription.

Insights into Ancient Egypt

  • The Ancient Egyptians invented the 365-days a year calendar, to predict the yearly floodings of the Nile river.
  • Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it provided skin protection from the hot sun.
  • Cats were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
  • Mouldy bread was used to help with infections.
  • The Nile was the source of much of Ancient Egypt’s wealth. It provided food, soil, water, and transportation.
  • The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid.
  • To date, over 130 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt.
  • The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs.
  • The Egyptians invented toothpaste, consisting of ox hoof powder, burnt eggshells, ashes, and pumice. It was effective in cleaning out germs.
  • Camels were not used regularly in Egypt until the very end of the dynastic age. Instead, the Egyptians used donkeys and boats for transport.
  • Men and women of similar social status were treated as equals in the eyes of the law. This meant that women could own, earn, buy, sell and inherit property.
  • The Egyptian diet of beer, wine, bread and honey was high in sugar. Examinations of mummies have indicated that many Egyptian rulers were unhealthy and overweight and even suffered from diabetes.
  • The Egyptians saw animals as incarnations of the gods and were one of the first civilisations to keep household pets.

Reflections

  • The dynastic period started with the reign of Egypt’s first king, Narmer, in about 3100 BCE, and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE.
  • What do you find fascinating about Ancient Egypt?

Explore the Walters Art Museum

Padiiset’s Statue

  • Title:                    Padiiset’s Statue or Pateese’s Statue
  • Date:                   1780-1700 BC (Later Inscription: 900-850 BC)
  • Culture:               Egyptian
  • Find site:             Egypt, Delta
  • Found:                1894
  • Writing:              Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Material:             Basalt; graywacke
  • Dimensions:       12 x 4 1/16 x 4 1/2 in. (30.5 x 10.25 x 11.5 cm)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

Egyptian Proverbs and Quotes

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“The only thing that is humiliating is helplessness.”

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“Seek peacefully, you will find.”

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“The best and shortest road towards knowledge of truth is Nature.”

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“What you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it.”

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“If you defy an enemy by doubting his courage you double it.”

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“Listen to your conviction, even if they seem absurd to your reason.”

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“The seed doesn’t reveal the tree it contains.”

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“Envious greed must govern to possess and ambition must possess to govern.”

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“We mustn’t confuse mastery with mimicry, knowledge with superstitious ignorance.”

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“Your body is the temple of knowledge.”

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“If one tries to navigate unknown waters one runs the risk of shipwreck.”

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“All organs work together in the functioning of the whole.”

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“Physical consciousness is indispensable for the achievement of knowledge.”

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“Our senses serve to affirm, not to know.”

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“Man, know yourself… and you shalt know the gods.”

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“People bring about their own undoing through their tongues.”

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“If you search for the laws of harmony, you will find knowledge.”

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“The seed doesn’t reveal the tree it contains.”
– Egyptian Proverb

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Photo Credit: 1) Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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