Great Temple of Abu Simbel

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View of the colossal statues of Ramesses II at the entrance of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel
Colossal figures in front of the Great temple of Aboo-Simbel.
(Plate 16.)




The New York Public Library


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View of the colossal statues of Ramesses II guarding the entrance of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, as seen from a low angle. The temple and its rediscovery in 1817 are described as follows by the authors:

Belzoni and his friends removed forty feet of sand, which had accumulated above the top of the door before the recent excavations; but they carried them no further than three feet below the top of the entrance, when they effected their passage into this temple and saw the most extraordinary work that remains to us of the age of Remeses [sic] II. Belzoni describes its facade as one hundred and seventeen feet wide and eighty-six feet high… Each of these enormous statues… measures from the shoulder to the elbow fifteen feet six inches… Their height as they sit is about fifty-one feet not including the caps, which are about fourteen feet. These, the most beautiful colossi yet found in any of the Egyptian ruins, represent Remeses II. They are seated on thrones attached to the rock. On the sides, and on the front angles of the thrones, and between the legs of the statues, are sculptured female figures, supposed to be of his wife and children; they are well preserved, though the material is a coarse friable gritstone. During the execution, defects in the stone were filled and smoothed with stucco, and afterwards painted, of which traces yet remain.

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