Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
Amarna art frequently provides the modern viewer with scenes of everyday life in an Egyptian palace. This relief presents a highly detailed glimpse of the activities in the palace kitchen. At the far left are two vaulted bakehouses. The worker in the bakehouse on the right shields his face from the flames rising from the fire. Above this scene are the fragmentary remains of the royal brewery. At the center of the relief two men carry a huge wine jar, suspended in a net from a pole, through an open double door into a court. Two details in the court are particularly noteworthy: the small cupboard containing five pairs of sandals, evidently the property of the kitchen help, and the workman who sweeps the floor of the court with a short-handled broom.
ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 18
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Limestone relief. Scene within house (or palace?). At right, servant sweeping yard which contains entrance, tiny garden and enclosure for sandals. Center, two servants carrying huge jar on pole. At left, curious domestic scenes, perhaps cooking.
Condition: Chipped along upper edge. Scattered chips on surface.
This item is not on view
Kitchen Scene, ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 8 7/16 x 21 1/4 in. (21.5 x 54 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 62.149. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.62.149_wwg7.jpg)
installation, West Wing gallery 7 installation, CUR.62.149_wwg7.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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Are the red markings that highlight the images in the relief put there later or when they were originally made?
It is all original. Most reliefs, were brightly painted in Ancient Egypt. But unlike the stone its painted on, fragile paint pigments don't always to survive well over thousands of years, so they come to us lacking much of their original bright paint.
So these colors probably represent their skin color?
Good question: Skin color was indicated with colors, yes, with men typically painted red, and women painted yellowish-white. That doesn't help us pinpoint what actual Egyptians looked like because this was clearly just a convention - real Egyptian women weren't paper-white, nor were the men really bright red.