The Seated Scribe


The seated scribe of ancient Egypt... it is called the most famous of the unknown sculptures (meaning that we know absolutely nothing about the person behind the sculpture). So, why is this special? For one reason - the figure isn't perfect and has personality and unique features - you can see the guy's pot belly, his musculature has gotten more loose because of age, he has man boobs, his facial features are unique and probably much like the real him. This was highly abnormal in Ancient Egyptian art which painted static figures with uniform, perfect features and almost no individuality. This sculpture stands in contrast to all Ancient Egyptian Art.

The seated scribe has a very calm expression on his face, his back is straight and he is sitting cross-legged. He almost reminds me of some weird Egyptian meditating buddhist (Buddhism will come only a couple thousand years later, so it couldn't have been true). His sitting position may have meant that he was a member of the royal family (the pharaoh's son or grandson, for example) but since all the  excavation journals and documents, the base of the sculpture have been lost, we just do not know for sure. His eyes are made out of two rock crystals, his nipples - out of two wooden stubs. His gaze is very concentrated and attentive - it's almost as though he is observing your every move and waiting for you to speak. His body is soft, he isn't muscular, which shows that he doesn't do hard physical labor and he eats fairly well - and shows off his high status in society. Scribes were high in the social order of the Ancient Egyptian Society - they were one of the very few who were literate and served in numerous roles - from tax collectors, to pyramid building coordinators, to religious and political functions, to name a few. 

The man is a scribe, we know this because he's holding a papyrus scroll (duh) and in his left hand must have been a brush, which is missing.