Ancient Egypt arts, 3 masterpieces of King Akhenaton

Ancient Egyptian art

The Amarna art considers a great part of ancient Egypt arts. Now we are going to talk about 3 masterpieces of the collection of King Akhenaton which locate at the Egyptian Museum.

Egyptian art: Akhenaton and his family offering to Aten

Ancient Egypt art
Akhenaten and his family offering to Aton

This painted limestone rectangular slab dates back to the new kingdom, 18th dynasty, reign of Akhenaton. It measures 53cm in height and 48cm in width and 8cm in thickness.

It was discovered at Tel El Amarna in 1891, by the Egyptian antiquities service, in a chamber of the royal tomb. The slab, which is carved with an offering scene, was found abundant among the debris of the royal tomb.

It has traces of grid lines in red ochre, which suggests that it might have served as a model for the sculptors responsible for the decoration of the royal tomb. The relief decorating the slab was once painted.

It depicts the divine royal couple while offering Lotus bouquets to Aton, with more flowers piled on a tall stand before them.

Aton sends his rays provided with human hands to present them with the signs of life and prosperity. It is really a wonderful and very famous scene in the Egyptian art. One hand even embraces the king below his right arm.

Behind the couple, that eldest daughter Meritaten rattles a sistrum, followed by her little sister Meketaten, Whom she holds by the hand.

Akhenaten wears the blue crown of war, with streamer floating at the back, and a uraeus on the forehead, a long pleated kilt extending down to the calves, and sandals.

Nefertiti wears a long wig tied with a diadem of uraei surmounted by the disk headdress with two feathers inserted between two horns.

She also wears a long transparent robe tied under the breast and opened at the front. Her robe reaches down to the sandals.

Her daughters are provided with a princes’ hairstyle that has a side-lock of (originally a sign for childhood). They are similarly dressed in long transparent robes. Once again the figures are exaggeratedly deformed.

They show receding front, protruding chin, bulging lips, overlong ears, drown out eyes, and projecting check bones, slender torsos, and deformed buttocks.

Ancient Egypt art: statue of Akhenaton presenting an offering tablet

Art in ancient Egypt
Akhenaton presenting an offering tablet

This composite statuette is one of the finest statuettes in the art of ancient Egypt. It dates back to the new kingdom, 18th dynasty, and reign of Akhenaton.

It was discovered by the Deutsche orient-Gesellschaft in 1911 in a house in a house at Tal el-Amarna. It is made out of limestone and measures 35cm. in height.

A composite statue is a statue made of separate parts which were attached to each other after being finished. These parts could be made out of different materials.

The technique of composite assemblage was practiced since the old kingdom in wooden statuary. It became employed on a stone under Akhenaton.

It aimed at creating specialist in sculpturing each of the different parts in order to achieve perfection and at the same time produce quite numerous pieces.

Such statues were more likely to suffer from easy breakage and dismantling and are rarely preserved.

The statue shows the king standing on a marble pedestal and wearing a blue crown (khepresh), which is made of a separate piece of stone, a short pleated kilt, and sandals.

The marble pedestal was discovered two years after the discovery of the statue itself. Scholars were able to relate them when they found traces of limestone on the marble pedestal.

The king is shown holding a tablet of offerings (mainly food and flowers) for the sun-deity (Aton) in a posture (attitude) similar to that of the middle kingdom king Amenmhat III when depicted as a Nile deity.

The statue displays facial and physical features much less deformed (less exaggerated) than those found on his other monuments.

However, one can still recognize the characteristic features of Akhenaton represented in: The elongated face, large pelvis, and heavy thighs.

His pierced ears and the lines on his neck are two further innovations of this period.

Unlike standing male statuary, the king is portrayed with both feet together instead of having the left foot stepped forward.

The king’s statue is also colored in the yellowish color usually used for women instead of the reddish male color.

Employment of female artistic in Egypt Amarna art

The employment of these female artistic features was probably meant to emphasize the new concepts of atonism according to which the king was not only the unique and fundamental intermediary between the Aton and men but also the spiritual and physical representative of this sole deity on earth.

Similar to this deity he should encompass all male and female divine qualities in existence.

Art of Egypt: royal family as holy family

Egyptian art
The stela of Akhenaten, the first side

This is a painted limestone stela discovered at Tell el-Amarna; excavations of the Deutsche prient-Gesellschaft under Borchardt in 1912.

It dates back to the new kingdom, Eighteenth dynasty, and reign of Akhenaton, 1365-1349 B.C. In this stela the royal family is united in a scene of private intimacy as a “holy family”. This sort of stela was kept in the private chapels of Amarna houses.

It was protected by shutters of wood whose hinges were set into pivots which are still visible on the base of the stela. The shutters were opened at the time of worship.

The scene is shown as a whole unit. Thus breaking the traditional rule of ancient Egyptian art, in which the scene was divided into registers.

At the top is a “pt” sign, symbolizing the sky, below which is the representation of a deep solar disc (the Aton).

The solar disk illuminates the scene with its rays terminating in human hands which hold the sign w3s (life and prosperity) to the nostrils of the royal couple.

The life presented will be transferred through the king as intermediary to others. Akhenaten and Nefertiti are comfortably

Akhenaton holds out an earring with strands to Meritaten; a similar earring and two necklaces are placed in his lap.

Meketaten stands on the queen’s knees seeking her attraction by reaching for her chin while dangling an earring under the eyes of her little sister, who plays with its strands. The king wears the blue crown and a long plaited kilt.

The queen’s costume consists of her traditional high blue crown, and the traditional long robe held in place with a belt. A collar covers the breast and shoulders.

This scene captures an intimate moment with the royal family were the central themes are harmony, love, and affection.

This unusual representation of the royal family is exclusive to Amarna art. It is a reflection of the reform made by Akhenaton in both religion and royal iconography.

Ancient Egypt art
Ancient Egyptian art, the upper part of the 2nd side
Art in ancient Egypt
The lower part of the 2nd side
These 3 masterpieces of King Akhenaton consider as great artifacts which belong to the ancient Egypt art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *