Inlay Profile Head
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Composite sculpture, or sculpture that combines separately carved elements of different materials, became particularly popular during the Amarna Period. The face in profile was once embellished with the eye and eyebrow inlays made of glass or semiprecious stones. The crown as well as the rest of the body would have been carved from other stones.
Red quartzite, pigment
ca. 1353-1336 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 18
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
4 5/8 x 4 7/16 x 1 11/16 in. (11.8 x 11.2 x 4.3 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
Trench in the Great Temple at Tell el-Amarna, Egypt; 1932-33, excavated by John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury for the Egypt Exploration Society (excavation no. 32-33/61); 1933, gift of the Egypt Exploration Society to the Brooklyn Museum.
Inlay profile head of red quartzite facing right, representing Akhenaten or Smenkhare, probably the former. Lips painted red.
Condition: Nose chipped. Eye, eyebrow and cheek slightly chipped. Minor scars. Lips painted red.
Inlay Profile Head, ca. 1353-1336 B.C.E. Red quartzite, pigment, 4 5/8 x 4 7/16 x 1 11/16 in. (11.8 x 11.2 x 4.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, 33.685. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 33.685_PS2.jpg)
overall, 33.685_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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Tell me more.
This inlay probably either shows Akhenaten, the Pharaoh during the Amarna period, or else Smenkhare. If you look closely, you can see that the lips were painted red!
If you look around the same room you can see a number of other reliefs of Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti. Akhenaten and Nefertiti put forward a new religion, that centered around a single god, the Aten, a manifestation of the sun god Re.
They were both considered semi-divine, and the only people to have direct contact with the Aten.