2,000-Year-Old Carving of Princess Reveals She Was 'Stylishly Overweight'

A 2,000-year-old image of a royal woman has been found in the ancient city of Meroë, in Sudan. When the artwork was created, Meroë was the center of the Kingdom of Kush; the Kushite lived along the Nile and, at times, invaded Ancient Egypt and ruled as Pharaohs there. But back to the image: She is, as Owen Jarus writes for LiveScience, "stylishly overweight."

The sandstone relief shows a woman smiling, her hair carefully dressed and an earring on her left ear. She appears to have a second chin and a bit of fat on her neck, something considered stylish, at the time, among royal women from Kush.

While researchers do not know the identity of the woman, they are quite sure she is royal: "It's similar to other images of princesses," archaeologist Krzysztof Grzymski tells LiveScience.

Janus adds:

Why royal women in Kush preferred to be depicted overweight is a long-standing mystery. "There is a distinct possibility that the large size of the Candaces represented fertility and maternity," wrote the late Miriam Ma'at-Ka-Re Monges, who was a professor at California State University, Chico, and an expert on Kush, in an article published in The Encyclopedia of Black Studies (Sage Publications, 2005).

Or! Maybe it was a sign of health and wealth? Or perhaps the Kush found larger women just plain foxy? Perhaps instead of asking why being voluptuous and having a double chin was cool, we should ask why not? After all, some consider Venus de Milo to be the epitome of beauty, while others would rather worship Venus of Willendorf.

Ancient Carving Shows Stylishly Plump African Princess[LiveScience] Image courtesy Krzysztof Grzymski