CAIRO (AP).- A team of Egyptian and European archaeologists has unearthed a statue of the ancient Egyptian king Amenhotep III at his funerary temple in Luxor.
The 2.5-meter alabaster head of the 18th dynastic king remains intact, Zahi Hawass, antiquities minister, said in a statement Tuesday. Amenhotep III ruled from 1390-1352 B.C.
Hawass described the statue's face as a masterpiece of royal portraiture. It has almond shaped eyes outlined with cosmetic bands, a short nose and a large mouth with wide lips.
His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendour, when Egypt reached the peak of her artistic and international power. When he died (probably in the 39th year of his reign), his son initially ruled as Amenhotep IV, but later changed his own royal name to Akhenaten.
Amenhotep III enjoyed the distinction of having the most surviving statues of any Egyptian pharaoh, with over 250 of his statues having been discovered and identified. Since these statues span his entire life, they provide a series of portraits covering the entire length of his reign.
Another striking characteristic of Amenhotep III's reign is the series of over 200 large commemorative stone scarabs that have been discovered over a large geographic area ranging from Syria (Ras Shamra) through to Soleb in Nubia. Their lengthy inscribed texts extol the accomplishments of the pharaoh. For instance, 123 of these commemorative scarabs record the large number of lions (either 102 or 110 depending on the reading) that Amenhotep III killed "with his own arrows" from his first regnal year up to his tenth year. Similarly, five other scarabs state that the foreign princess who would become a wife to him, Gilukhepa, arrived in Egypt with a retinue of 317 women. She was the first of many such princesses who would enter the pharaoh's household.[
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. With information from wikipedia.org