The Integration of Quantitative and Qualitative Research in a Study of the Regalia of Ramses III
This dissertation project sought to develop a viable methodology for quantifiable analyses of visual data. The focus of this project is the regalia worn by Ramses III (c. 1184-1153 B.C.E.) at Medinet Habu. Data gathered from select images were analyzed to elucidate hidden patterns of attribute appearance. Ancient Egyptian mortuary temple reliefs were examined, but the same methodology could be applied to any art historical period.
Pharaoh’s appearance was of great significance and his costume elements integrated to construct appropriate images for certain contexts. Specific regalia were chosen for particular rituals, although the number of temple scenes and the vast array of panoply greatly complicate cross-examination. By utilizing a database to record information for each scene, subsequent research on the attributes is immensely facilitated.
The data was exported for advanced statistical analyses, which resulted in insights on the attributes and guided the choice of two clusters of significantly correlated elements. All attributes in these two clusters were statistically analyzed, as well as being examined with directed searches within the database. Information from both research methods pointed to several possible attributes for a case study. A group of five interrelated attributes were selected for additional research utilizing the combined methodology.
The lappet wig, red looped sash, sandals, transparent garment, and flabellum all primarily appear on pharaoh in contexts where he is among other humans. Statistical analyses indicated that these attributes were highly correlated with some costume elements and strongly repellant to others. However, there were scenes where the king was depicted wearing these elements along with a number of regalia items they typically repelled. Among these are four images of the processing king in the corners of the first courtyard at Medinet Habu. Examination of these representations using the combined methodology indicated that they are constructed icons portraying idealized pharaonic images. These four images combine regalia that generally do not appear together, but these patterns were previously problematic to quantify.
This project has resulted in a better understanding of constructed pharaonic images and has provided a method for illuminating the significance behind the variations of the king’s costume.
0579: Ancient history