Why Do so Many Egyptian Statues Have Broken Noses?
Art Business

Why Do so Many Egyptian Statues Have Broken Noses?

The most common question that curator Edward Bleiberg fields from visitors to the Brooklyn Museum ’s Egyptian art galleries is a straightforward but salient one: Why are the statues’ noses broken? Bleiberg, who oversees the museum’s extensive holdings of Egyptian, Classical, and ancient Near Eastern art, was surprised the first few times he heard this question. He had taken for granted that the sculptures were damaged; his training in Egyptology encouraged visualizing how a statue would look if it were still intact. It might seem inevitable that after thousands of years, an ancient artifact would show wear and tear. But this simple observation led Bleiberg to uncover a widespread pattern of deliberate destruction, which pointed to a complex set of reasons why most works of Egyptian art came to be defaced in the first place. Bleiberg’s research is now the basis of the poignant exhibition “ Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt .” A selection of objects from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection will travel to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation later this month under the co-direction of the latter’s associate curator, Stephanie Weissberg. Pairing damaged statues and reliefs dating from the 25th century B.C.E. to the 1st century C.E. with […]

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