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“To be spoken over a figure of the foe, made of clay”: A Comprehensive Typology of the Brussels Execration Figurines

Book Contribution - Chapter

The Egyptian collection of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH, Brussels) comprises about one hundred execration figurines made of unfired clay, bearing curses written in hieratic and dating to the late Middle Kingdom. These figurines represent captured (foreign) enemies and were buried ritually in order to symbolically neutralise foreign and domestic enemies and general threats. Almost every paper discussing these objects focuses on the major importance of the texts for our knowledge on the geopolitical situation of Egypt around 1850 BC. However, the group is not as homogeneous as it appears in the literature. First of all, the majority of the figurines only refers to Egyptians and their families, while only a small part curses the enemies of neighbouring countries. Not only does the content of the inscriptions vary, the figurines themselves also bear distinct features, suggesting the influence of different craftsmen. This paper proposes a comprehensive typology of the important Brussels group, based on the physical characteristics of the figurines.
Book: Remove that Pyramid!: Studies on the Archaeology and History of Predynastic and Pharaonic Egypt in Honour of Stan Hendrickx
Pages: 1023 - 1037
Publication year:2021