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Breast from a Statue of Akhenaten

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This plump, rounded breast belongs to Akhenaten, during whose reign the artistic tradition, religion, and written language experienced a radical change. For the brief period of his rule, Akhenaten became the divine representative of the god Aten on earth. Aten’s name appears in the deeply incised cartouches on the breast, emphasizing the king’s affinity with him. The feminine forms of the king’s depictions point to his androgynous divine status, rather than his actual appearance.

Fragments of Amarna sculpture demonstrate the reaction to Akhenaten’s radical reforms. Almost immediately following his reign, his successors intentionally smashed most representations of the king and restored the traditional Egyptian religion.
MEDIUM Granite
  • Possible Place Collected: Tell el Amarna
  • DATES 1352-1336 B.C.
    DYNASTY late XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom, Amarna Period
    DIMENSIONS 2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 7 1/2 in. (6 x 16 x 19 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.580.89
    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 Breast from a Statue of Akhenaten, 1352-1336 B.C. Granite, 2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 7 1/2 in. (6 x 16 x 19 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, 16.580.89. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 16.580.89_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 16.580.89_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Fragment in mottled red and black granite from the left breast of a statue, probably of Akhenaten. About life size. The two cartouches of the Aten are deeply incised directly on the breast. Condition: Preserved portion in good condition. Surface polished but now weathered. Good workmanship.
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