Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Torso of Akhenaten

New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Dynasty 18
reign of Akhenaten
ca. 1353–1336 B.C.
From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Amarna (Akhetaten), Great Temple of the Aten, pit outside southern wall, Petrie/Carter excavations, 1891–92
Indurated limestone
h. 35.5 cm (14 in); w. 25.5 cm (10 1/16 in); d. 23.5 cm (9 1/4 in) cartouche w. 1.7
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1921
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
This torso from a statue of Akhenaten was found in the Sanctuary of the Great Aten Temple or in the dump south of the Sanctuary area of the temple. The heavy breasts and sagging belly of the king are typical of his representation, a feminized body that may suggest his fertile receptiveness to life and divine inspiration from the Aten.

The statue appears to have been standing with its arms held naturally so that they hung slightly forward, a realistic pose developed by Amarna artists. Like all images of the king and queen, but not the princesses, the torso is inscriped with pairs of Aten cartouches on its chest. In addition the names of the god appear on the preserved upper arm (and would have appeared also on the missing arm and on both wrists), on the king's belt, and at the top of the backpillar and.
Excavated at Amarna by Petrie and Carter 1891–92. Received by Lord Amherst in the division of finds. Purchased by the Museum at Sotheby's, London (Amherst sale), 1921.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 112.

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