Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ripe barley

New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Dynasty 18
reign of Akhenaten
ca. 1353–1336 B.C.
From Egypt; Probably from Middle Egypt, Hermopolis (Ashmunein; Khemenu); Probably originally from Amarna (Akhetaten)
Limestone, paint
H. 23 cm (9 1/16 in); W. 52 cm (20 1/2 in); Th. approx. 4 cm.
Credit Line:
Gift of Norbert Schimmel, 1985
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
Beginning in the Old Kingdom, the harvest of grain is a typical motif in private tombs. Although temple scenes showing the pharaoh ritually cutting stalks of grain, usually held by a priest, are known from other periods, fields of the living plant are unknown in royal or temple architecture except during the Amarna Period, when representations of wild animals and living plants were common in both palaces and temples. This fragment gives no clue as to its original context. The ears of barley are lifesize and have been very naturalistically carved so that they seem to bend in a gentle breeze coming from the left. The scale and the superb quality of the relief suggests that the block formed part of a prominent scene, perhaps filling a role similar to that of the wild animals greeeting the sunrise (1985.328.21)
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. 310.

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: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 32.

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