Ancient Egyptians liked their eternal representations of their men and women curvy, as we can see in their statues. In fact, a little bit extra around the middle signified dollars, not dad bod!
Let's head back to the Old Kingdom, one of the early periods of big-time Egyptian history (from about 2700 to 2150 B.C.E.). Back then, sculpture was a huge deal; with more leisure time came more individual wealth and the rich people's desire to immortalize themselves in statuary. This was the period in which the idealized image of the pharaoh - strong, masculine, and virile - begins to appear, but not every statue was looking to appear on the copy of Men's Fitness.
We also get realistic pictures of some people, wrinkles and all. Check out the statue of the vizier Hemiunu, who gets an individualistic depiction in the statue shown below. He has Churchill-esque jowls, sagging breasts, and love handles. For the Egyptians, this extra weight wasn't anything to scoff at, but to be cherished in statuary. It showed you were wealthy, that you could afford to pay more for extra food and that your profession was a high-ranking one, that you didn't have to engage in manual labor.
Hemiunu's eternal pose. Image via History.com.
Another realistic portrait from the Old Kingdom comes in the form of "Sheikh el-Beled," a statue of an old man. He's plump and saggy, representing what a real-life elderly person would look like! This guy is in a group of really lifelike sculptures depicting Old Kingdom noblemen. Interesting how they chose to represent themselves for eternity.
Feature image via Doot/Nazareth College.