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Watching a Hippopotamus Hunt

Essay by   •  October 25, 2018  •  Essay  •  696 Words (3 Pages)  •  788 Views

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  1. The figure of royalty always appears much larger than the one of ordinary people. In the ‘Watching a hippopotamus hunt’, the size of the government official Ti appears almost twice as tall as his servants. What’s more, their gestures vary a lot. The gesture of royalty is often upright with a strong sense of stillness while the gesture of the ordinary is more lifelike and has more variety. In the ‘Watching a hippopotamus hunt’, Ti is standing still on the boat with his head facing perfectly forward. The servants are in various and lifelike gestures trying to look for the preys or to navigate the direction of the boat. In the ‘Palette of Narmer’ , while the king Narmer is standing straight and heretically, his people have different poses. For example, the two men pulling the neck of the lion with a rope are leaning forward to show their effort.  The royalty is also depicted as young, youthful and thin in a perfectly idealistic physical condition.  In the ‘Watching a hippopotamus hunt’,  Ti is shown as muscular and in high spirit. His face is calm and solemn, showing his role of royalty from every aspect. However, for the ordinary, the body can be realistic and imperfect. The figures in the artwork are chubby on their bellies and their heads round and lumpish. They look like men in their middle ages, which create a strong contrast from the image of their king, the royalty.


        Figure 3-18 and 3-19  vary largely from elements of subject, style and technique. While figure 3-18 portrays the Ramose and his wife Urel, figure 3-19 is a family scene depicting Akhenaten, who changed his name from Ramose, with his wife and children. In figure 3-18, Ramose and his wife are positioned with identical gesture, including tilted their heads and right arms at the same degree and have their upper bodies with a frontal look and their lower body with a profile look. They are both sitting upright with composed facial expression. Through their identical gesture, their stiff way of sitting and their facial expression, a sense of dignity and seriousness is expressed to the viewer. What’s more, even though Urel is placing her hand on the shoulder of Ramose, trying to show the intimacy between them, her upper body is still perfectly upright without any leaning. This may be interpreted by the viewer that Ramose and Urel may not be as intimate as they seem to be and might be just following the routines. While in figure 3-18,  the four figures all have different gestures.  The gestures are much more natural than the ones in 3-18. Akhenaten is raising up his child, trying to kiss her and his wife is gently holding the hand of the other daughter. The child is also pointing something to her mother, as if she is asking her some innocent questions. This adds on the element of narrative to the artwork.  The entire picture reveals the intimate relationship among family members and shows the warmth of family relationship.



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(2018, 10). Watching a Hippopotamus Hunt. Retrieved 10, 2018, from

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