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65 South Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

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AIA Lecturer, Tara Prakash will present the AIA (Oberlin-Wooster Society) National Lecture Program lecture titled "The Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues:  Manifestations of Pharoah's Power".  

During the late Old Kingdom, six different pharaohs erected nearly life-size, limestone statues of kneeling, bound captives inside their pyramid complexes. These statues are commonly known as prisoner statues, and they were a major part of the monument’s decoration. This talk will focus on the prisoner statues of King Pepi I. These prisoner statues were highly unusual in two important ways. First, they portray generic foreign enemies rather than specific ethnicities, as is typical in Egyptian art. Secondly, the statues were never meant to remain intact; instead, Pepi I’s artists methodically decapitated and butchered them. In their decapitated form, Pepi I’s prisoner statues were ritual offerings and monumental images of the deceased king’s annihilated enemies.

Dr. Tara Prakash is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Architectural History at the College of Charleston. She received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She specializes in ancient Egyptian material culture. Her research interests include ethnicity and identity, foreigners in ancient Egypt and foreign interconnections, pain and emotions, and artistic agency.  Her recently published book, Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom (Lockwood Press, 2022), is the first comprehensive study on the prisoner statues, a unique series of Egyptian statues that depict kneeling bound foreigners.

A light reception will follow the lecture.

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