Fragment of a Queen’s Face (New Kingdom, Amarna Period, Dynasty 18, Reign of Akhenaten), ca. 1353–1336 B.C. Yellow jasper, H. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm), W. 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm), D. 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1396).

This striking fragment is from a statue composed of different materials. The back of the piece shows remains of the mortise that fitted onto a tenon extending from the statue’s body, which may have been made of Egyptian alabaster to represent a white garment. Two headdresses might have fit this head: the khat or the Nubian wig.

The royal woman represented here cannot be securely identified. It is difficult to imagine that the already aged Queen Tiye—highly respected as a wise woman at Amarna—was shown as a beauty of such sensuous character. Queens Nefertiti and Kiya, however, are both possible subjects.

Citation:

  • “Fragment of the face of a queen [Egypt, Middle Egypt, el-Amarna (Akhetaten); inc. el-Hagg Qandil]” (26.7.1396) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/26.7.1396. (August 2010)
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