Narmer Palette

ältester Bild-Hinweis auf Einigung des Nord- und Suedreiches unter Narmer.
Begin der 1. Dynastie  (3000 v.Chr.)
Schieferplatte 63 cm hoch. Beidseitiges Flachrelief. Schildert den Sieg
NARMER´s ueber das Nordreich.

Oben: Hathor mit den Hoernern und den Ohren einer Kuh.(Frage: Was ist der kulturelle Hintergrund fuer dieses Bildsnis?)
Mitte:  Links, der Koenig mit der Nordkrone. Auffallend die Spirale;) in ihrer Symbol-
bedeutung unbekannt. Rechts im Bild eine Reihe erschlagener Feinde. Gefesselt
mit dem abgeschlagenen Kopf zwischen den Beinen. (Auch im spaeteren germanischen
Bereich ein Ritus, um zu vermeiden, dass die Toten als Wiedergaenger Unheil anrichten koennen).Ueber den Toten das Boot des Narmers.
(Frage: Besteht ein kulturellen Zusammenhang zwischen den Hoernern auf der Palette
(3000 v.) und den Hoernern der Seevoelker (1200)?
Unten: Ein Stier über einem niedergeworfenen Feind. Der Stier als Symbol der Macht
des Koenigs.
Problem: 1.) Wie und wo enstand die offensichtlich zentrale Bedeutung der Hornsymbolik?
              2.) Narmer wird mit Horus gleichgesetzt. Nach Sargtext 467 hat Horus blaue
              Augen: * heads are given to me, and I knit on the head of the Blue-eyed Horus,--*
             (s.a.586)
 

 
This remarkable object, carved in low relief on both sides of a palette of schist or slate, commemorates a victory over a northern enemy by King Narmer from the beginning of the 1st Dynasty. He wears the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, and is faced on one side by a figure of the god Horus. The palette is decorated according to the full artistic canon of Pharonic Egypt, it displays many of the fundamental distinguishing marks of kings in its depiction of Narmer, and contains small groups of hieroglyphs. The Narmer Palette encapsulates the essential elements of the Pharonic culture, and announces their presence at the beginning of the dynastic sequence. The Narmer Palette is 25 inches (63 cm) high and is a slab of slate carved on both sides with scenes commemorating the reign of a king, whose name is Narmer. Also shown is Horus, the ancient Egyptian sun god, who is represented as having the head of a hawk or falcon, and who is used interchangeable as a representation of Narmer. Written at the top of the palette, in "palace facade" rectangles (Davis 197) is the name Narmer. Narmer must have lived immediately prior to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty and may well have been the last and greatest of the kings of Dynasty 0 of Hierakonpolis.
On one side a bearded Narmer, is wearing the tall and tubular white crown of Upper Egypt which is another insignia of the early monarchy. Before him a defeated, near naked victim kneels. Narmer is holding a mace and a peg, placed on the bare crown of his pacified opponent's head. He stands brandishing the upraised mace about to strike the kneeling captive, who is probably his defeated enemy. This type of victory motif persisted through out all the periods of Egyptian history. Beside the captive's head is a group of hieroglyphs that indicate the captive's name was Wash. Narmer, Egypt's first king, dominates the entire work. In the top register, symbols for this king's Horus name are placed in a central square above the outlines of palace walls. His name is situated between two human faces with the ears and horns of cows.
These represent his consort Hathor, the goddess of love and fertility. "Hathor" means the Mansion of Horus (Wilson 118). Narmer and Wash are situated between two identical heads of the spiritual goddess Hathor. Beneath the heads of Hathor on the other side are three pictorial strips. Facing Narmer is a picture of a falcon with a human hand holding a rope tethered to the nose of a human head emerging from an oval. This oval forms the ground for a display of papyrus plants, on which the falcon has landed. The king in the shape of a falcon god is holding by the lip the head of a captive rising out of the hieroglyph meaning "land". The six papyrus plants nearby may symbolize six thousand captives, but perhaps also Lower Egypt. Below this are two naked fallen enemies with names of districts or tribes. (Lange 292)
These strange images are very early examples of Egyptian hieroglyphs or writing. They may be translated as "Horus dominates or overpowers the head of papyrus land, the king of Lower Egypt" (Wilson 117). Below Narmer's feet, in the bottom register, two other naked men lie in dejected poses of submission. The design on the top right hand side of this face probably conveys the supplementary message that the Horus king, (the falcon) who is perched on a clump of papyrus holding in its human hand a cord which tethers a bearded head, has won a victory over an enemy based in the Delta (Wilkinson 199).
The delta being represented by the papyrus, is just anterior to the head and symbolizing the end of the land out of which the plants grow, of whom Wash was presumably the ruler, as many scholars have interpreted ( Wilkinson 28-30). This is meantto suggest, "The king, the incarnation of the Hawk-god, Horus, with his strong right arm is leading his captives, the marsh dwellers" ( Kemp 39). In other words, the north has been conquered by the state god of the south, whose embodiment on earth is Narmer. In front of Narmer is an official with writing materials and four standard bearers. The emblems of the standards raised on staffs symbolize the divine might of the king.
On the other side of the palette, the images of conquest in the top and bottom registers are balanced by the central design which expresses harmony, in the form of the intertwined and captive mythical animals. Two captive mythical creatures are intertwined. They are held in balance by vigilant keepers holding ropes around their abnormally long necks. This is the consolidation of the conflict, maintaining the Two Lands in unity and harmony.
Now the Horus Narmer is Lord of the Two Lands, wearer of the White and Red Crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the top register Narmer now wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt, was on his way to witness the execution of bound enemies. Behind Narmer is a high ranking figure, probably a personal attendant, who carries the king's salve box and sandals. Narmer is accompanied by two men of high and distinctive rank, who walk to inspect two rows of bound and decapitated bodies of northern enemies. The party is preceded by four bearers of standards of distinctive shape. These standards were later called the "Followers of Horus", or "the gods who follow Horus" (Davis 194)
Whatever their origin, by the time of Narmer they were clearly part of the array of symbols which contributed to the unique aura of kingship. The symbols above the decapitated enemies cannot be interpreted with accuracy. In the lowest register the conquering power of the king symbolized by a bull is directed against a walled and fortified town, at the same time trampling on the arm of a conquered foe. There are two bearded men leading two animals whose long necks twine round the pan, or depression on the face of the palette between the two entwined animals. Such animals appear not only on similar tablets, but also on old Babylonian cylinder seals, and later they can be found in the name of the Upper Egyptian town of Kusai ( Prehistoric Art 46-47).
One of the most prominent aspects is the use of animals, both real and imagined as an allegory of the forces of life. One interpretation of the Narmer Palette is that this implies that the paired beasts stand for a political harmony. The theme generally conveys powerfully the intention on the part of the artist to depict an ultimate attainable harmonious framework to a turbulent world. The paired animals are always identical. Even the pair on the Narmer Palette have no distinguishing marks to suggest a wish to identify each one in a distinctive way with one part of the country or to suggest a separate kingdom.
Political harmony must be there in the meaning, but only as an urgent aspect of the ideal of general harmony in the world that the Egyptians knew. Here one may suppose that some political union is symbolized and it is not improbable that it was a manner of expressing the union of Upper and Lower Egypt. Since on both sides of the tablet Narmer is wearing the crowns of both countries. The paired animals of late Predynastic ceremonial palettes are, none the less, the forerunners of the paired figures of Horus and Seth. Above the kneeling victim whose name is given as "the place of harpoon" (Lange 292) is a symbolical representation.
The unification myth was but one aspect of what emerges with the 1st Dynasty and has been the principal focus of effort both intellectual and organizational. Another important aspect that comes out of this time period is the projection of the kingship as the symbol of supreme power over all others. On the late Predynastic slate palette conquering figures occur in the form of an animal, the bull which we can take to be a symbol of human power. However, only with the Narmer Palette do we find figures of a human king to which detailed treatment has been given in order to convey some of his symbolic attributes. What we do know is that Egyptian history dawned with the splendid culture, and one of the great monuments of that culture is the palette of Narmer, commemorating the unification itself.
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