Egyptian Artwork "Fragment Of a Wall Relief"
As I entered the upper Egyptian gallery at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology I noticed a women giving a lecture to a small group concerning some of the monuments in the gallery. Lucky enough, I got a chance to catch the end of her lecture, and coincidentally it was about this piece entitled "Fragment of a Wall Relief." This particular piece is from the Amarna period or 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt, dating from about 1367-1350 BCE. I picked this piece specifically because of the period in which it derives. The armana period has boggled me ever since we learned about it in class. In this paper I hope to uncover the historical significance of this piece and how it relates to this most unusual period.
The " Fragment of a Wall Relief" was presented free standing, but clamped to the floor with metal braces. I believe it stands at about seven and a half feet tall and about eight inches thick and is made out of quartzite. This monument is not placed behind glass or ropes, but simply placed in the middle of the floor for people to view from all sides. This was very surprising for me, not only due to the age of the monument but also it's state of preservation. I observed that at sometime this piece had been broken in two, and has since been repaired. The "front" Of this piece may be well preserved because it had been lying face down in the sand for quite some time before it had been excavated. This piece in general has been weathered due to sand and wind for some time, but again still is in good condition.
This "Fragment of a Wall Relief's" depiction of the setting at hand is pretty simple. At the very top of this monument, in the upper scene is the god Aten, once the sun god Ra, is shown as a disc shaped object with it's rays shining downward. To either side of Aten are hieroglyphics, most likely stating the scene that's at hand. Atens' rays are shining downwards towards Akenaten and one of his daughters. Akenaten is shown with his hand raised towards Aten, holding some type of bowl. To the right of these two subjects are piled up offerings meant as gifts for the sun god. In the lower scene, again is Aten at the top, and according to the museum, Akenaten is offering a censure of burning incense. This part is unclear to me due to the state of the monument. In both scenes Aten and the hair and clothing of both subjects are sunken relief, which at one time would have been inlayed with glass. Also in both scenes Akenaten is represented with his arms and hands raised towards Atens rays. Akenaten is represented with profile head, frontal torso, and profile legs. In the top scene he seems to be wearing a kilt type garment and in the lower scene it's unclear the type of garment he's wearing but it seems to cover most of his body. Along the right hand side of the monument runs a vertical band containing various hieroglyphics and three sunken relief figures...