Ancient Egyptian wall relief of an obese man
A wall relief of an obese male with folds of flesh,
gynaecomastia and a paunch. It was not unusual for pharaohs and
wealthy people to have themselves portrayed with rolls of fat about
their abdomen since this indicated prosperity and success. However,
the skin folds of mummies such as those of the pharaohs Amenophis
III (reigned 1386-1349 BCE, Dynasty XVIII) and Ramesses III
(reigned 1182-1151, dynasty XX) showed that they were immensely fat
even though their portraits do not depicts them as such.
This wall relief is from Karnak, near Luxor which was known in
ancient Egypt as Ipet-isut 'the most select of places'. The temples
of Karnak were built, enlarged, demolished, re-built and restored
for over 2000 years after the Theban kings and the god Amun came to
prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE).
Karnak was particularly active from the beginning of dynasty XVIII
91570-1293 BCE) when the capital of Egypt was established in