Nefrusheri’s Bust

Nefrusheri's Bust

This is a sketchbook portrait of my original character Nefrusheri. She was this Egyptian (or pseudo-Egyptian) warrior princess I created for a fantasy story wherein she had to retrieve a magic staff stolen by the Chinese (or pseudo-Chinese). Unfortunately, I am still stumped on the plotting process, but I don’t want to give up on it since I’ve given up on way too many projects in the past. Somehow I am going to figure out how to make it work!
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Egyptian Hair Protection

Egyptian Hair Protection

This woman from ancient Egypt has her hair covered with linen cloth to protect it from the sand and dust of the Sahara. It’s similar to an African-American do-rag, and there are Egyptian tomb paintings of men wearing similar headwraps while winnowing grain. And given the ancient Egyptian fondness for styling their hair (especially into braids and dreadlocks), they must have felt a similar need to protect and maintain it. We know people throughout Africa and the African Diaspora (e.g. African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans) wear wraps of cloth around their hair for that purpose, so maybe the Egyptians did as well?

By the way, if you’re seeing weird lines in her skin, those are dents in the sketchbook paper from an earlier drawing. Unfortunately, not all sketchbook paper is equally robust.

Egyptian-Style Nunchucks!

Today’s theme is going to be Egyptian warrior babes wielding nunchucks!

Nefrusheri's NunchucksTakhi Has the Chucks

In all seriousness, nunchucks (or nunchaku) actually originated from the island of Okinawa which lies between Japan and Taiwan. They started out as an agricultural tool before being modified into a lethal defensive weapon in the martial arts. But the idea of Egyptian warrior babes wielding nunchucks was too awesome to pass up.

Grand Vizier Ay

Vizier Ay

This my sketchy portrait of the Grand Vizier Ay, who is the main antagonist in my old short story The Battle Roar of Sekhmet. However, he is a real personage from ancient Egyptian history rather than a fictional character. Originally a nobleman from Akhmim in southern Egypt, Ay got his government career started under the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and continued under Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. After Tut’s early departure to the afterlife, Ay took his place as Pharaoh in 1323 BC, but seems to have been overthrown by the general Horemheb a mere four years later. Horemheb even went so far as to wipe out as much mention of him as possible from Egyptian records, as if trying to completely erase Ay from the annals of history.

In my story (which takes place in 1350 BC, early in the reign of Akhenaten), I portray Ay as a creepy and aging Vizier in charge of persecuting the traditional Egyptian religion on the behalf of Akhenaten’s “Atenist” reforms. And I honestly believe Ay was a creepy guy in real life, too. After Tut’s death, his widow Ankhesenamun sent a request to the Hittites to send her a prince for a husband, but the groom just happened to die en route and she ended up marrying Ay (her grandpa) anyway. Either he was ravenous for power and prestige, or he had a serious entitlement mentality with regards to women. Maybe both.

Takhaet, Veteran of Egypt

Takhaet the Champion of Egypt

This is an updated design for Takhaet, a character I created for a short story back in early 2016. She was this veteran Egyptian soldier who started her career fighting for the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, but found herself (and her little niece Nebet) at the receiving end of religious persecution by Amenhotep’s “heretical” successor Akhenaten. The story, titled The Battle Roar of Sekhmet, was about her fighting on behalf of both her traditional religious beliefs and her niece. Among all my characters, I would say Takhaet ranks among my personal favorites since she’s the one Egyptian warrior chick whose story I actually finished.

Proto-Semitic People

Proto-Semitic People

This couple represents the earliest speakers of the Proto-Semitic language, which would eventually evolve into all the Semitic languages of the Middle East (e.g. Hebrew, Arabic, Phoenician, and Assyrian). Although Proto-Semitic itself most probably emerged in the Middle East around 3800-3500 BC, it is descended from a larger linguistic phylum known as Afrasan (or Afroasiatic) which first emerged in northeastern Africa >13,000 years ago. Which is to say, Proto-Semitic essentially represents another prehistoric migration of African people into the Middle East (before the locals absorbed them and adopted their language).
The sheepskin skirts these Proto-Semitic individuals are wearing in my illustration are inspired by Sumerian descriptions of the nomadic Amorites, an early branch of the Semitic peoples.

Neitetis the Egyptian Bride

Neitetis the Egyptian Bride

Neitetis was a daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh Wahibre Haaibre (589-570 BC) who married the Persian Shah Cambyses II after her father had died in a coup.

According to a (probably fictitious) account by the Greek historian Athenaios of Naucratis, Cambyses had apparently bought into a stereotype that Egyptian women were better sexual performers than others and so requested that the Pharaoh Ahmose II send him one of his daughters as a bride. However, Egyptian Pharaohs normally did not give away their own daughters as wives for foreign kings, so Ahmose sent his predecessor’s daughter instead. At first, Cambyses seems to have been a satisfied customer, but once Neitetis disclosed to him that she was the daughter of Wahibre rather than Ahmose, he invaded and conquered Egypt out of fury at being cheated.

I doubt that’s how the Persian invasion of Egypt actually got started, but I think it is an amusing bit of fiction nonetheless, and it gave me the opportunity to mix ancient Persian and Egyptian influences in a portrait.

Ankhesenpepi II

Ankhesenpepi II

Ankhesenpepi II was an Egyptian queen of the sixth dynasty (2345-2181 BC) during the Old Kingdom period. She got her start as a consort for the Pharaohs Pepi I and Merenre Nemtyemsaf I, the latter of whom fathered her son Pepi II. When it was time for Pepi II to take the throne in 2278 BC, he was still a little boy, so Ankhesenpepi would have ruled for him as regent until he came of age. A wooden sculpture depicting Ankhesenpepi has recently been unearthed in the area of Saqqara in northern Egypt (near the pyramids of Giza), which is why I did this quick portrait of her.

Cinderella

Cinderella

Did you know that the oldest recorded variation of the Cinderella fairy tale was set in ancient Egypt?

According to a brief account by the Greek historian Strabo, an Egyptian courtesan named Rhodopis had one of her sandals carried off by an eagle, which then dropped it in the Pharaoh’s lap. Once the Pharaoh’s men identified the sandal as hers, Rhodopis became his wife, and he buried her within the third pyramid at Giza. Of course, over the centuries the story would be embellished into a classic underdog tale, which Walt Disney would adapt into the animated movie we all grew up with.

For my interpretation of Cinderella, I combined influences from her original Egyptian background and the Disney design. Her sandals are supposed to be made of glass like in the Disney version.