Jun 19, 2007
Jun 19, 2007

Talatat: Portrait of Nefertiti

Talatat: Portrait of Nefertiti

c. 1353-1347 BC

Painted sandstone

Overall: 22 x 22.7 cm (8 11/16 x 8 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1959.188


Did you know?

This relief comes from the short end of a talatat, a limestone block of standardized size used during the 18th Dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten in the building of the Aton temples at Karnak and Akhetaten. The standardized size and their small weight made construction more efficient.


The son of Amenhotep III, Akenhaten, brought about the short-lived "monotheistic" revolution in Egyptian religion near the end of Dynasty 18. The young king constructed a temple complex to the Aten, the Sun Disk, at Karnak—from which this relief comes—before he moved his capital to El Amarna. For reasons yet unknown, the figure of the Queen Nefertiti appears in these reliefs far more often that that of the king. Ironically, the Aten temples were dismantled to be used as foundations and fill for additions to the Great Temple of Amun, whom the Aten had briefly displaced.

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