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why do they look like that?
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Claire
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:54 am    Post subject: why do they look like that? Reply with quote

Very Happy Why do the the armarna royal family look so strange and well, in a way 'deformed?' Even Nefertiti is sometimes portrayed as looking very odd and very different from her famous bust.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During the early years of the Amarna Period , the traditional majestic and ideal forms of the king were replaced with exaggerated, elongated images of Akhenaten and his family. They are depicted with ugly features in order to express a radically new concept of kingship and queenship.
In the later years of Akhenaten's reign the art developed a graceful naturalistic style.
Intimate affection and tenderness were shown in scenes portraying the king with his wife and daughters .
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Claire
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:45 pm    Post subject: why did theylook like that? Reply with quote

Smile so you don't think that the statues of akhenaten were a realistic portrayal of him??
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think no one really knows. I have read that some of the very large statues look elongated because they were meant to be looked up at.

The statue of David in Florence shows some distortion of you would look at one of his hands up close. It's made large because when you see it it is far above you and the distance makes it look smaller than it really is.

Maybe the statues of Akhenaten they found at Karnak for instance would not look nearly so strange if we could see them the way they were meant to be. When gazing up at a tall statue, the perspective would have made his face look quite a bit shorter.

Some of the depictions of the royal family are peculiar. But it's hard to say what was meant by them. My guess is that part of it was that they were trying to depict them as fertility figures. This may explain the broad hips and big bellies.
Why they would depict them with these elongated faces I don't know. They sometimes look almost like caricatures to me.

They did build a whole new city and several temples in a very short time. I don't know if maybe some of the artists were not as skilled as they should have been? The scale at which they were building seems rather grand. I don't have a good feeling for how many artisans that would take and just how many trained artisans were available at the time.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The statue of David in Florence shows some distortion of you would look at one of his hands up close. It's made large because when you see it it is far above you and the distance makes it look smaller than it really is.


That makes you think. I hadn't considered that before. Very interesting, anneke.

The theory I've read that most appeals to me about these unconventional depictions of the early Amarna Period, is that they were meant to convey a sense of divinity to Akhenaten and his family, an androgynous form similar in shape to how some of the deities were thought to be in nature...both masculine and feminine, a sacred balance. They were to remind people who saw them that these royals were apart from mankind, and higher on the spiritual ladder.

The other most convincing theory is that Akhenaten was the first cross-dresser and proud of it.

Just kidding. Laughing I read that recently on some web page and had a good chuckle.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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...an androgynous form similar in shape to how some of the deities were thought to be in nature...both masculine and feminine, a sacred balance.


I personally like that theory too. There are some depictions of Hapi I think that are also somewhat androgynous.
Maybe trying to depict Shu and Tefnut at the same time ? Laughing

Quote:
The other most convincing theory is that Akhenaten was the first cross-dresser and proud of it.
Just kidding.


LOL Well he already had the make-up going for him....
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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There are some depictions of Hapi I think that are also somewhat androgynous.


Yeah, Hapi is a perfect example. There's also Atum. He's usually shown as quite male, but he gave birth to Shu and Tefnut without the aid of a female (there's a nice tie-in with how Akhenaten wanted himself and Nefertiti to be thought of). This was a rather common belief behind creator deities.

It's just a minor pet theory of mine, but I've long wondered if one reason Akhenaten favored this unconvential form early in his reign was in an attempt to ease his people into the worship of the Aten. I'm not explaining myself well, I fear, but these androgynous forms are akin to the powers of the creator deities, and hence Akhenaten wanted his people to believe that he, as the only true fitting intercessor to the Aten, was all the god his people needed.

Okay, you may laugh yourself silly now. Laughing

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LOL Well he already had the make-up going for him....


And those lovely, shapely hips! Don't forget the hips. Very Happy
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
Quote:
There are some depictions of Hapi I think that are also somewhat androgynous.


Yeah, Hapi is a perfect example. There's also Atum. He's usually shown as quite male, but he gave birth to Shu and Tefnut without the aid of a female (there's a nice tie-in with how Akhenaten wanted himself and Nefertiti to be thought of).

I didn't think of Atum. I have heard the theory that (the deified) Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were embodyments of Atum-Shu-Tefnut.
Although then we would expect Amenhotep III to be depicted in this way.

kmt_sesh wrote:
It's just a minor pet theory of mine, but I've long wondered if one reason Akhenaten favored this unconvential form early in his reign was in an attempt to ease his people into the worship of the Aten. I'm not explaining myself well, I fear, but these androgynous forms are akin to the powers of the creator deities, and hence Akhenaten wanted his people to believe that he, as the only true fitting intercessor to the Aten, was all the god his people needed.


Makes some sense that Akhenaten would have to take on all roles in one and hence would also have to be seen as the creator.
Have to say I like that theory as well as any of the others I have heard.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Makes some sense that Akhenaten would have to take on all roles in one and hence would also have to be seen as the creator.
Have to say I like that theory as well as any of the others I have heard.


Thanks. Very Happy

One must ask, then, what caused the artisans to return to more conventional forms later in the Amarna Period? Was Akhenaten satisfied with the level he had reached as a living god, or was it just the opposite? Was the style of the early Amarna Period not well accepted? It was a pretty radical change, after all.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's very hard to say why they returned to the more conventional depictions. The only think I can think of off the top of my head is that this could have been the influence of the successive co-regents that were in power. Whether they be Smenkhare of Neferneferuaten, these people may have had their own ideas.
The inscription of Pawah (I think that's his name?) in Thebes dating to year 3 of Neferneferuaten shows that Amun was being worshipped again. It seems that some of the most extreme elements of the "revolution" were being turned back again towards the end of the reign of Akhenaten and or the short lived successors. I think it would make sense that a return to normalcy (or maybe better said to be a return to orthodoxy) would also include the area of the arts.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's true. Akhenaten's coregents or immediate successors may never have fully bought into such adoring worship of the Aten. As his power lost a bit of its stranglehold, reversal to the old ways may well have begun already.

That puts a whole new spin on things. Do you suppose his successors made any attempt to conceal their fondness for the old ways? It's hard to imagine what Akhenaten must have felt to have seen the power of the Aten slipping away even in his own time. Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if it was possible that in the later years some of the information was kept from Akhenaten. Considering that he didn't want to leave Akhet-Aten (according to what he wrote on the boundary stela) he may not have had any real sense of what happen in Thebes for instance.

I actually don't know what the situation was in Akhet-Aten itself.
Or when the return to orthodoxy took place. I have read that in the later years the depictions returned to some of its earleir forms, but I don't know how long before Akhenaten's death that would have been.

There's the theory too that part of the reform was to break the back of the Amun priesthood, and possible some other priesthoods that had become too powerful. Maybe that was deemed a success at some point so they could actually return to some of the older values?
This doesn't have to contradict the "Akhenaten as creator god" theory you proposed. This may just be the vehicle he used to create this alternative to the old gods.

But we are rather firmly into speculation aren't we? Laughing
Then again that's some of the fun ...
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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But we are rather firmly into speculation aren't we?
Then again that's some of the fun ...


We're never going to know all the answers, especially when it comes to such an irregular time in their history. Then again, what fun would it be if there were no mysteries, right?

And with the Amarna Period, mystery abounds.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A third vote here for the strong possibility of the Atum-Shu-Tefnut interpretation.

The exagerated elements of Amarna design don't really strike me as all that odd, except in as much as they deviate from the more conventional forms of AE artistic expression to which we are accustomed. We're more familiar with the profile/frontal torso/profile legs, for example, so it doesn't seem so odd. Full, sensual lips come and go in fashion - look at everything from Rossetti's full lipped men and women to modern collagen implants.

I find the early, more abstract phases of Amarna art as appealling as the more naturalistic later work. Had it taken a firmer, more lasting hold on Egyptian art, and endured as long as the more established artistic representations did, it might not look so odd next to centuries of established, 'conventional' A E art.
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Claire
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a documentary i watched it said that the 'motto' for the armarna period was 'living in truth' so maybe this meant that the pharoah was not going to lie and have himself and his offspring depicted as the strong, idealistic people that the other pharoahs before him did, but instead he chose not to hide his appearance but to show his 'TRUE' form as he really did look and not hide in shame. Any other thoughts?
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