Friday, July 4, 2014

The Black Pharaoh

Jason McKittrick returns with this idol of Nyarlathotep in his Black Pharaoh incarnation.


CoastConFan said...

Jason has made a nice figure and very reminiscent of period statuary of Egypt. It always helps to have a link to existent pieces when making a prop. It will enhance any cabinet of curiosities.

Keep in mind that the color black in ancient Egypt had associations different than our Judo-Christian based culture. For example, black in ritual and funerary pieces could be used to indicate afterlife and death. The reason is that black is the color of bitumen, which coated the bodies mummies. The term we now use to denote the country, Egypt, is a Greek word (Αἴγυπτος), and the land was actually often referred to as Kemet (the Black Land) by the Egyptians themselves because of the rich, black life giving sediment of the Nile. For that matter the important Egyptian city, Thebes is derived from a Greek word also, the Egyptians called it Waset. Thebes of the Hundred Gates was finally completely destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century. It would make a good location for props.

Since Nyarlathotep was buried alive and unembalmed, he would have had no coating of bitumen. This would assure decay and mutilation in the afterlife. So the term Black Pharaoh would refer to a complete absence of light rather than an important ritual color. Osiris has the title, The Black One” because he is king of the netherworld. Giving such an association to Nyarlathotep would be erroneous. Anubis, who is associated with embalming (hence bitumen) is often shown as black.

When making props, it should be remembered that Egyptian ritual colors are important associations and should not be confused with actual mundane appearance. As we know from the Hindus: a blue guy is important and it doesn’t mean he is oxygen starved.

Quick and easy links on Egyptian ritual colors associations:

Brian O'Connell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CoastConFan said...

3710@ Brian. I started off with history in college, but when I realized I would have to teach, I switched to business. Teaching is a killing routine to those not born to the vocation and I understood I would never care to have a captive audience who just didn’t have an interest in the subject matter. On the upside, I never lost interest in archeology, history, and science. But generally I never stopped reading whatever came to hand. After a number of twists and turns, things came full circle years later (after I retired) as an antique dealer, researcher and appraiser. BTW, Dreams in the Witch House is one of my favorite of HPL’s stories, keep up your good work in the genre.

Jason had a similar Nyarlathotep figure as part of a set on a Propnomicon post, The Bowen Legacy 3 Apr 2012, but without the glyphs and gilding

Jason McKittrick said...

This piece isn't necessarily a grave good that was buried with anyone. Also, I'm not sure where you're getting the "Nyarlathotep buried alive" thing from.
Honestly I got the idea for the black and gold scheme from the two guardian figures from Tutankhamun's tomb.
I think it's important when viewing Mythos themed pieces that you keep in mind they represent and alternate meaning and understanding of a cultures or religions roots. That's the fun of it. You get to play around with the meaning of symbols and colors.
If I wanted to create an historically accurate Ancient Egyptian piece I would have done so.

Brian O'Connell said...

You seem good at what you do.

Thank you!

Yeah, I'm sorry. Jason got angry at me for posting that. It was wrong of me to do that.

CoastConFan said...

297@ Jason, let me profoundly apologize if I gave offense about the figure. I hadn’t directed the comment specifically to you, but was just musing out loud and in general about Egyptian based Mythos props. I think my error was that in noticing that it was since based on a grave good, that the prop was also reflecting the same properties. But think of it, a whole tomb filled with Nyarlathotep items and I think your skill would be up to such an undertaking.

On that line, a Nylathrotep tomb ensemble, would presume a ritually bound, but not dead avatar of the Crawling Chaos, in the worldly corporeal form of Nyarlathotep (just a pseudopod, if you will), sealed and perpetually alive until found by archeologists. Given that, a corpus would be physically bound in the confines of the tomb as in The Mummy and other works of that type. Again, let me say, I was speaking to Propnomicon’s readers in general. I most often use the @ prefix and name when commenting directly to an individual. I particularly like the fact that you take known artifacts and put a Mythos spin on them and that they are not slavish copies, but unique and your own work.

Jason McKittrick said...

@CoastConFan- Not a problem, sir. Thanks for the kind words.
I'm very much an Egyptophile at heart and I can't pass up the chance to incorporate it into Mythos art.
I've got an "Under the Pyramids" themed prop set coming out Friday that I think you'll enjoy.

Brian O'Connell said...

@CoastConFan Here's my take on your "buried alive and unembalmed" theory.

Nephren-Ka ruled Egypt until the point that the Shining Trapezohedron was discovered. After summoning the Haunter of the Dark (an avatar of Nyarlathotep) several times and performing blasphemous rituals, Nyarlathotep finally possessed Nephren-Ka and ruled Egypt as Pharaoh. Because of Nephren-Ka's horrific doings, he was buried alive - unembalmed. Thus the Black Pharaoh lay dormant until the events of "Nyarlathotep", i.e., the end of the world.