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Head of Colossal of Akhenaten

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

Description: This head was originally part of a colossus of Akhenaten. The king wears the nemes headdress with a ureaus on his brow. Four ta ll feathers, associated with the Heliopolitan deity Shu, top his crown. Traces of a "false beard," a symbol of kingship, can be seen under his chin. Akhenaten is depicted in characteristic "Amarna" style with an elongated face, full lips, narrow, half-closed eyes, and a long nose. The lobes of the ears are pierced, and would originally have been adorned with earrings.

This statue was one of many situated in the pillared court of Akhenaten's temple in Karnak. The various fragments recovered show that the king was represented wearing a number of different crowns and headdresses, but he was always portrayed standing, arms crossed over his chest and holding the crook and flail (see the other image of Akhenaten in this catalog). One of the most complete pieces depicts the king in the typical short kilt, demonstrating that not all the east Karnak statues exhibited the highly androgynous style seen in the other Akhenaten piece discussed in this catalog.

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: 150cm (from a statue originally about 4m tall)
Current Location: Cairo Museum

Lange, K. and M. Hirmer (1968). Egypt: architecture, sculpture, painting in three thousand years. London, Phaidon. pp. 459.(for images of other Akhenaten statues at Thebes and a discussion of their iconography)

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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