Relief with palace attendant

New Kingdom, Amarna Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122

Narrow wooden palm columns provide the clue that a room of a palace or house structure is depicted on this block, since the stone temples employed in the main thick stone papyrus bundle columns. Many scenes of palaces are depicted in relief from royal buildings and in officials tombs, as the 'palace' served as a point of departure or station on the king's regularly depicted journey to the temple. In addition, there are official houses for central bureaucrats that are sometimes seen in association with the temples.

An attendant stands over what seems to be a large flaming brazier on an openwork stand, and appears to drop addiitional coals on the brazier from a small dish. The flames shoot up quite high. Scenes like this evoking the busy activity of attendants, or ephemeral phenomena like dancing fire, create a hubub of activity and life surrounding the royal circle in its intense focus on the Aten.

The relief is sandstone, which, while not unknown at Amarna, is the main material in Akhenaten's Karnak constructions. That and the more angular treatment of the attendant's head suggest the relief comes from Karnak.

Relief with palace attendant, Sandstone

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