Egyptian limestone relief
Period: late Amarna Period, circa 1340-1300 B.C.
Dimensions: H: 53 cm W: 72cm D: 5.3 cm
This rectangular shaped fragment belonged to a tomb: it is decorated with a finely incised, elaborate scene related to the funerary sphere. It is in three registers and is framed, on the right, by a hieroglyphic inscription that includes a cartouche whose name is unfortunately illegible.
In spite of the gaps, the meaning of the picture is perfectly clear: in the central frieze, the statues of the deceased and of his wife, placed on a pedestal, are dragged towards the left by priests (recognizable by their shaved heads); the most prominent among them (he wears a leopard skin and could be the son of the grave’s owner) holds a censer in his left hand. In the lower register, which represents the burial chamber where both statues will be placed, workers are installing the large sarcophagus (right part of the image). Mourners covering their faces with their hands and gift bearers complete the composition in the upper frieze. The unfolding of this image is quite canonical. The style, featuring figures with elegant proportions (arms and legs are very thin), but with long heads tilted backwards and rounded bellies, recall the art of the Amarna Period.
On Amarna Period art, see:
ALDRED C., Akhenaten and Nefertiti, New York, 1973.