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Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

Author(s): C. Zarnoch, E. Sullivan

Description: This colossus of Akhenaten, missing its lower legs and crown, depicts the king in a traditional pose: arms crossed over his chest and holding the crook and flail (symbols of rule). Traces of a "false beard" can also be seen along his neck and chin. However, many other elements of the statue differ dramatically from traditional depictions of pharaoh. Akhenaten is shown not with the heroic broad shoulders and slim waist common in most depictions of a king, but in a somewhat androgynous style. His breasts sag, his hips are broad, and his belly rounded. Instead of wearing the short kilt, the king is naked, without genitalia. This strangely asexual image of the king (and a statue of queen Nefertiti, portrayed almost identically to the king) may have stemmed from the desire to portray the king and queen as the primeval creator gods Shu and Tefnut. In another unusual element, double cartouches are inscribed on raised panels on the king’s body.

Provenance: From the pillared courtyard of the Gem-pa-Aten temple in east Karnak
Person: Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten
Date: Dynasty 18, New Kingdom (1352-1336 BCE)
Material: Beige sandstone
Functional Comments:
Dimensions: H: 4m
Current Location: Cairo Museum

Arnold, D., Ed. (1996). The royal women of Amarna: images of beauty from ancient Egypt. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 16-19.

Van der Plas, D. (2006). "The Global Egyptian Museum, Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage." http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org

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