The Nubian Kings of Kush: Glimpses of Royal Splendor The history of the Nubian kings and the ancient Kingdom of Kush is intertwined with ancient Egypt. Much of Kush’s sculpture and monuments have been hidden through history and have been revealed only with twentieth- and twenty-first- century archaeological discoveries, which are ongoing. The Kingdom of Kush in northeastern Africa is centered along the Nile River. Civilization in this region dates back before 3300 BCE. Egypt and Kush were always linked in art and trade. In 744 BCE, Egypt was conquered by the Kushite King Piye, who became the first pharaoh of Egypt’s 25th dynasty. Piye’s son Taharqa built vast monuments in Egypt and Kush. Rulers of the 25th dynasty are called the Black Pharaohs. Some of the sculptures from the Kingdom of Kush that are known today were excavated in the twentieth- and twenty-first century by Charles Bonnet, a Swiss archaeologist. Bonnet recognized that Kush had its own artistic and cultural tradi- tion, distinct from those of Egypt. As one example, Nubian kings built pyramids, but these pyramids were tall and slender, not triangular like Egyptian pyramids.

This statue of King Taharqa worshipping the falcon god Hemen can be viewed in the Louvre in Paris.

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