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"All of them have to do with the economy of offerings to the supernatural," Bleiberg said.In a tomb, they served to "feed" the deceased person in the next world with gifts of food from this one.But invasions by outside forces, power struggles between dynastic rulers and other periods of upheaval left their scars."The consistency of the patterns where damage is found in sculpture suggests that it's purposeful," Bleiberg said, citing myriad political, religious, personal and criminal motivations for acts of vandalism.
Yet Nefertiti and her daughters also suffered; these acts of iconoclasm have obscured many details of her reign.Bleiberg, who oversees the museum's extensive holdings of Egyptian, Classical and ancient Near Eastern art, was surprised the first few times he heard this question.He had taken for granted that the sculptures were damaged; his training in Egyptology encouraged visualizing how a statue would look if it were still intact.These campaigns of vandalism were therefore intended to "deactivate an image's strength," as Bleiberg put it.Tombs and temples were the repositories for most sculptures and reliefs that had a ritual purpose.
Likewise, how-to hieroglyphics provided instructions for warriors about to enter battle: Make a wax effigy of the enemy, then destroy it.