Images of Nubians

Images by New Kingdom Egyptians emphasize Nubians as subjects and foreigners

Images of Nubians in Egyptian tomb and temple art during Egypt’s New Kingdom, a time when Egypt dominated Nubia (1550–1069BC), commonly show Nubians as subjects of Egypt’s empire. Created for religious and state purposes, these images accentuate Nubians as “other” than Egyptians. Nubians are often distinguished by details such as darker skin color, curly or tufted hair, high cheekbones, and Nubian items of clothing or personal adornment.

Images by Nubians stress Kushite royal power

After 747 BC, when rulers of Nubia’s Kushite state became pharaohs of Egypt as well, they began to produce and commission images of themselves. Adopting conventions of Egyptian art, they showed themselves in poses like those of traditional Egyptian pharaohs. But they added distinctive elements to indicate their Nubian origin and character. Facial features of the Kushite images include high cheekbones and a deep furrow running from the nose to the sides of the mouth. Figures of the rulers wear Kushite royal regalia, including cap crowns with double uraeus serpents and necklaces with ram’s head pendants.

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Nubia Gallery Floor Plan

Nubia Gallery floor planHead of NubianTile Depicting a Nubian PrisonerA Kushite prince pictured in an Egyptian sceneEgyptians see Nubians as subjects