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Group of Three Monkeys

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The British archaeologist and Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie found at least twenty-three crudely modeled figures of monkeys in a dump at el Amarna in 1891–92. Some of the figures play harps, lyres, or flutes. Others hold their young, eat or drink, and even drive chariots. These figures have been interpreted as popular caricatures of the royal family. If this was their true purpose, then acceptance of royal dogma, including respect for the king and the god Aten, was not nearly as complete as Akhenaten imagined.
MEDIUM Limestone, painted
  • Possible Place Made: Tell el Amarna
  • DATES ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom, Amarna Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 15/16 x 1 5/8 x 1/2 in. (10 x 4.2 x 1.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.81
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Group of Three Monkeys, ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E. Limestone, painted, 3 15/16 x 1 5/8 x 1/2 in. (10 x 4.2 x 1.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.81. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.16.81_wwg7.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 7 installation, CUR.16.81_wwg7.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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