The worldview of Egyptians was different from their neighbors. Consequently, their art had its peculiarities. First, it was based on their beliefs in the gods and goddesses that were reflected through their sculpture. Second, their paintings reflected Egyptians’ life. Thus, one could see people, boats, and animals there. Moreover, Egyptian art was related to mummification and immortality. As a result, Egyptians tried to show the distinction between body and soul using the artworks. One should say that statues and sculptures were the most common forms for glorifying their gods and goddess. Consequently, this essay intends to analyze the Baboon Statue as the example of the Egyptian art that reflected their worldview.
The Baboon Statue
The subject matter of the Baboon statue is animalistic and spiritual as it represents the specie of primate and Troth, the god of wisdom and knowledge. It is a secular artwork that can be used as the way of glorification. One should say that Egyptians used other animals as the objects for sculpture. Moreover, they applied the images of people to depict their goddess and gods. We have studied such artworks as the statue of Khafre, Menkaure and one of his wives, the Scribe, Kay. The Baboon statue is related to these sculptures as it has the secular meaning and represents the image of god. This sculpture is the example of the fact that ‘the Egyptians did not make the sharp distinction between body and soul.’
The artist used the formal elements of sculpture to render the subject. The light and shadow are concentrated on the baboon rather than on the basement. It means that the main attention should be focused on him. The prevailing colors here are white, grey, and brown. They symbolize calmness and peace. Not without a reason, the baboon represents the god of knowledge and wisdom. The sculpture is made from stone, and it is used to save it for ages. ‘Egyptian artists worked with a great variety of materials. One of the most really available was limestone’. It is difficult to understand the meaning of this statue without knowing the peculiarities of Egyptian art. Consequently, it is for a prepared visitor of the museum.
As I am a late twentieth century viewer, the Baboon statue made me get acquainted with the Egyptian art to understand the meaning of their sculpture. It is a pleasing composition as it creates the atmosphere of peace. The artist demonstrates skills as it is not easy to create sculpture from the stone. It demands not only talent but efforts. The Baboon statue is a persuasive rendering of the subject as it represents the religious beliefs of Egyptians and baboons are very popular in Egypt. One should say that the baboons were widespread in the African culture. It means that ‘Egyptian sculpture is a repository of a great many influences’
The medium used for the Baboon statue is stone. It is not unusual; it is typical for the Egyptian art. It is significant for the interpretation of the work as it is the way to determine to the location and time reference of the artwork. Stone is nor expensive neither expressive. However, it does not diminish the value of this sculpture. It is the statue for worshipping Thoth, ‘the god of knowledge and writing.’
The format of the artwork is statue. It means that it has many appointments. First, it can be used for worshipping. Second, it can reflect the peculiarities of Egyptian art. Third, it can be used as the decoration. Moreover, such statuettes as the Baboon were put in the tomb. ‘We today regard as examples of Egyptian art – ‘statue’, ‘stela’, ‘tomb’’. It means that Egyptian art has influence the contemporary art bringing its terms and vision of art.
The Baboon statue might have been a part of the exposition reflecting Egyptian culture. Moreover, it could present the religion and mythology of Egypt. The Baboon statue could be brought in other countries as stylistic carriers. It means that Egyptian sculpture has also a practical value. Not without a reason Melinda Hartwig described Egyptian art in the following way: ‘it was functional, intended to identify and perpetuate the essence of the person depicted.’
One can deduce the original location of the Baboon statue from its iconography and format. First, Egyptian art is based on the depiction of gods and goddess through the images of pets. Second, only two species of primate were known in Egypt. These were the dog-faced baboon and the cercopith. Moreover, Egyptians regarded the baboon as a sacred one. ‘Thoth, another lunar deity and the god of knowledge and writing, appears in art as ibis, a baboon, or an ibis-headed man crowned with the crescent moon and the moon disc.’ It means that form, shape, and material can help the viewer to deduce the original location of the sculpture.
The iconography and intended location of the Baboon statue tell me about its function. First, Egypt is always associated with mythology and a large number of gods and goddesses. Second, I know that baboons were very popular in Egypt. Consequently, I would underline the parallel between these animal and religious beliefs of Egyptians. Moreover, I would take into consideration the following fact: ‘The way the Egyptians perceived the world was greatly influenced by their geographical environment.’ Thus, the work’s function is to show the way Egyptians worship the god of knowledge and wisdom.
I think that the Baboon statue was intended for both public and private consumption. The public consumption was related to such functions as worshipping, glorifying the god of wisdom and knowledge, and showing commitment to gods and goddesses. The private consumption was related to such functions as using it as the decoration for the home and using as the symbol of the protection. The audience of the Baboon statue might have been diverse. The most committed viewers are Egyptians. Moreover, these can be the tourists from other countries who are interested in Egyptian culture and connoisseurs of art. One should say that Egyptian art is diverse, and differ from art of other countries. ‘Here are objects that are stelae, coffins, amulets, and yet one them works of art’.
As a historian, I can say that the art held for its original intended audience. When it comes to the Baboon statue, these were the Egyptians who believed in gods and goddesses. Moreover, as the Baboon statue expresses measurement, science, and wisdom, I can associate it with the Time of the Old Kingdom.
In conclusion, one should say that sculpture is an essential part of the Egyptian art that is secular and religious and is based on mythology and worshipping of gods and goddesses. Consequently, the Baboon statue is not only the representation of god of knowledge and wisdom. It is the Egyptians’ perception of world and their lifestyle. The Baboon statue remains the object of interest for the connoisseurs of art and tourists and it encourages absorbing in the Egyptian culture. The value of the Baboon statue is not in its form, material, and way of depiction but its meaning and symbolic reference to the Time of the Old Kingdom.