The antelopes are shown in their desert habitat. The two animals whose heads are preserved are feeding on a plant with spiky leaves. The animals are eating quite calmly, so it is unlikely that they are part of a hunting scene. The three antelopes in the upper group seem to be rearing up on their hind legs, perhaps to grab at leaves high on a tree; the front hooves of two of them are visible in the upper right.
Presumably the antelopes were part of a scene depicting sunrise. Two representations in the royal tomb at Amarna show wild animals stirring and gamboling under the rising sun outside the temple where the king and his family are performing the morning ritual. A similar image from a temple of this period has been found at Thebes. The size of the animals on this relief suggests that the scene would have been monumental in scale and prominent in the structure that it decorated.
Norbert Schimmel Collection, by 1964, published and exhibited frequently from that time. Donated to the Museum by Mr. Schimmel, 1985.
Settgast, Jürgen 1978. Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection, New York. New York: P. von Zabern, no. 307.
Mertens, Joan, Catharine H. Roehrig, Marsha Hill, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Oscar White Muscarella 1992. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 49, no. 4 (Spring), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 30–31.