jeudi 3 août 2017

"The grand gallery represented the divine palace, the ideological complement of a gigantic superstructure built to celebrate the king as sun-god" (Luca Miatello)

"The identification of the functions of the peculiar features on the west and east sides of the grand gallery is one of the most difficult problems in old Kingdom architecture, because of the multiple variables involved. The large number and systemic regularity of slots, niches and trapezoidal cuttings cannot be related exclusively to the function of parking the granite plugs, which were probably only three or four. Also, the granite plugs in the gallery were roughly in balance of forces and therefore a ‘safety system’ was required, rather than a ‘retaining system’. The slots appear to be sockets for vertical objects and were likely conceived to function with the niches. Also, the grooves in the third corbel do not seem to be appropriate for the insertion of large planks. It is, therefore, more plausible that they were conceived for a transversal beam, which would have allowed to lift up stone objects.
Multiples of seven, nine and 11 cubits occur frequently in the design of the pyramids of Snefru and in the Great Pyramid. A parallel phenomenon is the recurrent use of particular numbers of elements in architectural and iconographical features. A numerical pattern, for example recognizable in the arrangement of columns in the upper temple of Khufu and in the disposition of statues of the king in the valley temple of Khafra, envisaged seven elements or multiples of seven along the sides of a rectangular structure. This scheme is found also in palace-façade decorations of old Kingdom sarcophagi at Giza, introduced for the first time by sons of Khufu, and in later symbolic representations. Numerical arrangements such as the 14 panels on each of the west and east sides of the sarcophagus of Kaemnefret probably made reference to the scheme in the grand gallery of Khufu, in which 14 pairs of palace-façade slabs would have been inserted into the slots on each of the west and east sides of the monument. The palace-façade is used in the Giza necropolis during the 4th dynasty as decoration of tombs and chapels of members of the royal family and high officials, according to a scheme derived from Saqqara. In the pyramid complex of Menkaura, a simplified palace-façade panelling is found in the corridor-chamber of the pyramid (which is located, exactly as the grand gallery, before the portcullises), and on the inner walls of the open court in both temples. The analysis of the dimensions of the grand gallery provides a further crucial evidence : the perpendicular height of the grand gallery is 14 cubits from the top of the ramp benches, 15 cubits from the floor. The length of the burial chamber of Unas is 14 cubits in the lower section, characterized by a palace-façade decoration, and 15 cubits in the upper section of the gable. All burial chambers decorated with palace doors, from Teti to Pepi II, are 15 cubits long, and the panelled vestibule in the Menkaura pyramid measures 7 1/2 cubits, which is half of 15 cubits. The use of the numbers 14 and 15 for the dimensions in cubits of a room in old Kingdom pyramids can be traced back to the numerical pattern of 14/15 palace doors in the temenos wall of the mortuary complex of Netjerykhet. Fundamental in such pattern is the number 14, and this would account for the choice of 14 pairs of palace-façade stelae on each of the west and east walls of the grand gallery. Numerical choices in the design of the gallery and its features can be thus considered architectural markings of a room decorated with the palace-façade. Further to express a symbolic significance, palace-door stelae inserted into the notches in the grand gallery presumably served as safety system for the granite plugs and as footholds in the lowering of the plugs to the northern part of the gallery.
The architecture and decoration programme of Old Kingdom royal mortuary complexes involved ideological schemes, based in particular on the representation of the three Egyptian cosmic realms (netherworld, world, heaven) and their interaction, but the forms in which the individual principles were realised in tombs and temples were various and interchangeable. The grand gallery represented the divine palace, the ideological complement of a gigantic superstructure built to celebrate the king as sun-god. A parallel scheme would have been more soberly realised in the refined vestibule of the pyramid of Menkaura." (Luca Miatello)

L'article intégral proposé par Digital Giza : ICI