Amenhotep III the Hunting Pharaoh

amenhotep-the-hunting-pharaoh

Amenhotep III was a Pharaoh of the Egyptian New Kingdom whose reign (1391-1353 BC) has been described as a time of unprecedented prosperity for his country. He was a prolific builder, diplomat, and patron of the arts, as well as an avid hunter (he was recorded as bagging over a hundred lions during the first ten years of his reign). His chief wife was Queen Tiye and his heir was the “heretic” Pharaoh Akhenaten (whose reign appears to have been much more disastrous for the dynasty than his father’s).

Here I’ve chosen to portray the huntsman facet of Amenhotep’s character, by showing him hunting in the floodplains of the Nile Valley. This piece was actually something I did for a client who wanted an illustration for a website of African history he’s setting up (he liked it, but decided my style wasn’t quite what he was looking for).

Wrath of Sekhmet

rage-of-sekhmet

Sekhmet, the Egyptian goddess of war, has just gone through a destructive rampage. One Egyptian story claims that the sun god Ra sent Sekhmet down to punish some mortals who conspired against him, but when her rampage went out of control to the point of nearly destroying humanity, Ra had to get her drunk with beer dyed red to look like blood. As would have befitted her role, Sekhmet had as her animal totem the lioness, which would have been among the most formidable predators known to the ancient Egyptians.

Princess of the First Dynasty

princess-of-the-first-dynasty

An Egyptian princess from the period known as the First Dynasty (3100-2890 BC). This period is so named because it was the first dynasty when singular Pharaohs ruled the whole country, beginning with Narmer’s conquest of Lower (northern) Egypt from the south (Upper Egypt). The necklace this princess is wearing is based on an actual one made from cornelian, garnet, and coral which was uncovered in a First Dynasty tomb.

Y’all Got No Idea

yall-got-no-idea

“So you tellin’ me I’m a timeless symbol of ancient beauty? Y’all got NO idea…”

I started out simply wanting to draw Nefertiti again, but then decided to throw in a comical caption as a way to take up composition space. Considering how Western audiences have tended to declare Nefertiti an icon of ancient and timeless beauty based on a weathered old bust of her which is missing the pupil of one eye, she might have been a bit amused.

Rite of Bastet

rite-of-bastet

Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of music, is perfectly at home performing this ritual dance. I wanted the background to look like a nighttime celebration, with the flames coming from something like a village bonfire. If this piece had a soundtrack, I imagine it would be intense and jubilant drumming.

A couple of Smilodon pieces

smilodon-bust

Quick portrait of Smilodon fatalis, the great saber-toothed cat. It wasn’t really a tiger, but it would have filled an almost equivalent niche in its Pleistocene North American domain.

When coloring the Smilodon, I prefer to give it a gray coat with white spots. That would fit a snowy Ice Age environment very well in my opinion.

smilodon-and-the-snowman

Smilodon fatalis, the most famous saber-toothed cat, doesn’t know what to make of a snowman that the local Native American children have made. Is it prey, or simply a funny-looking accumulation of snow?

I don’t know if Native Americans of any era would have made snowmen, or whether that’s an exclusively Western invention. Nonetheless, I am sure Native American children would have still played with snow wherever available, and of course prehistoric people’s art wouldn’t have been limited to cave paintings like we tend to imagine.