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

Before Islam:  Overview

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Nubians Bringing Tribute, Tomb of Huy

Nubians Bringing Tribute, Tomb of Huy

Egyptians usually referred to all the lands to the south by terms we translate as “Nubia,” and represented “Nubians” using stereotyped images (see #8).

Yet we know that the land of Nubia was in fact comprised of many different groups. This painting is one of the rare examples that shows Nubians with a wide range of clothing, hairstyles, and thus probably ethnicity.

This is a modern watercolor copy of a painting from the tomb of Huy, the Egyptian governor of Nubia during the reign of King Tutankhamun (1336–1327 BCE). It depicts Nubians bringing tribute to Egypt. Some are shown with Egyptian dress and hairstyle, including a woman riding in a cart. Others, particularly the men with feathers in their hair, appear more “tribal.” The skin color of the Nubian men ranges from dark red to brown to black; skin tones for some of the women are lighter.

Next Button Off Head of a Nubian

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