Friday, January 06, 2023

Greater than the parts…

The prisoner statues of Pepi I and Pepi II clearly demonstrate this complexity. Their destruction should not be understood as an isolated ritual. Rather it occurred in a broader context and the results of the destruction, namely, the prisoner statue fragments, continued to operate within the ritualization of the pyramid complex. The destructive action was only one layer of this. The scattered prisoner statue fragments eternalized the annihilation of the kings’ enemies so that it would perpetually occur, and they served as permanent offerings to the king. This then reinforced other ritual activity that occurred within the complex, all of which served to benefit the king and aid his transition into the afterlife.

The prisoner statues were only one feature of the late Old Kingdom pyramid complex. Consequently, any attempt to reconstruct the ritual life of these monuments cannot be based only or even primarily on them, but rather it would need to take into account the rest of the architecture and decoration.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 173

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