Trial Piece with Relief of Head of Akhenaten

Period: New Kingdom, Amarna Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 18

Reign: reign of Akhenaten

Date: ca. 1353–1336 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Amarna (Akhetaten), Petrie/Carter excavations, 1891–92

Medium: Limestone

Dimensions: H. 35 cm (13 3/4 in.); W. 23.4 cm (9 3/16 in.); D. 4.9 cm (1 15/16 in.)

Credit Line: Purchase, Fletcher Fund and The Guide Foundation Inc. Gift, 1966

Accession Number: 66.99.40


The slanting slitted eye, heavy everted lips, and drooping chin here recognizably signify the pharaoh Akhenaten.

This piece is a 'sculptor's model' from Amarna. Such models are roughly rectangular slabs of stone on which the representation is theorized to be a master's model for his assistants to follow while decorating a wall with relief or, alternatively, an apprentice's study piece. At least in some instances, however, such pieces may have been intended or served secondarily as donations. For instance, one such relief found in the Great Temple of the Aton at Amarna shows a kneeling figure on the reverse side of a royal representation.

The king's image appears to be unfinished, lacking characteristic furrows and lines and the royal uraeus.