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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Before Islam:  Overview

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Statue of an Egyptian Man and His Wife

Statue of an Egyptian Man and His Wife

This early Egyptian statue, of about the same date as the Mesopotamian worshipper figures, shows different skin colors for a man and his wife. The man, Nen-khefet-ka, has reddish-orange skin, while his wife Nefer-shemes is pale yellow. Was the ancient sculptor representing an ethnic difference?

In fact, most Old Kingdom statues distinguished between the genders using skin color, probably a statement that elite women did not work in the sun.

INSCRIPTION: Overseer of Commissions, King's Acquaintance, Chief of the Southern Goat City, Royal Priest, King's Acquaintance, Nen-khefet-ka.

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