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Relief of Mourning Men, Roughly Rectangular Slab

The controversial reign of the "heretic" king Akhenaten, known as the Amarna Period, was a time of great experimentation, particularly in the visual arts. Traditional features found in relief, such as register lines and the number of figures included in a scene, were modified to allow freer use of the compositional space.

This relief fragment shows two men on the right who, by their gestures, can be identified as mourners. The small cuts in the stone surface above and in front of the figures quite likely represent the dust that mourning Egyptians are known to have poured on their heads as a sign of bereavement. To the left can be seen the traces of a man in official dress who appears to be hurrying from the opened door of the tomb. The scene speaks strongly of disorganization and chaos, conveying quite clearly the distress that the ancient Egyptians felt in the presence of death.


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