LOOKING BACK INTO THE FUTURE: THE MIDDLE KINGDOM AS A BRIDGE TO THE PAST
The visible sign of the special position enjoyed by Upper Egypt in the Old Kingdom is its artistic autonomy. Even the royal art of the Old Kingdom follows paths that are different from those found in the workshops of the royal residence at Memphis. Upper Egypt, moved into the foreground after the emergence of Thebes as the leading political power around 2100 BC, and came to constitute the new style for royal art. For anyone embarking on the study of Egyptology, learning Middle Egyptian - the script and language of the Middle Kingdom - is the key admitting them to the world of the Ancient Egyptians. Apart from the 'classical' language of Middle Egyptian, the art of the Middle Kingdom also exerted a particularly strong influence on subsequent periods. The sculpture, reliefs and painting of the twelfth Dynasty provide the models on which the academic training of Egyptian artists was focused up until the time of the Ptolemies.