Amarna Princess Perfume Bottle

This perfume bottle, with a depiction of an Amarna princess stood upon a lotus blossom, is in the shape of a hes-vase. It is made from Egyptian alabaster, with an inlay of coloured glass, carnelian, obsidian and gold.

Amarna Princess Perfume Bottle. New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1353–1336 B.C. Met Museum. 40.2.4
Amarna Princess Perfume Bottle. New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1353–1336 B.C.
Met Museum. 40.2.4

A hes-vase is named after the “hes” hieroglyph. The hes-vase was used as a libation vessel, meaning, during ritualistic offerings, liquid would be poured from the vessel.

Blue faïence hes-vase
Blue faïence hes-vase
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1350-1295 B.C.
Brooklyn Museum. 48.55a-b

The Amarna style is famous for its intimate portraits of the royal families, and distinguished style in which the faces and limbs were slightly elongated. This below is a piece from Amarna, usurped and reused in the Ramesside era, and showcases two daughters of Akhenaten in a sisterly moment.

Note the tenderness of the young sister, placing her delicate elongated fingers upon the upper arm of her sister. Such portraits from the Amarna period are numerous, despite their destruction by the later Ancient Egyptians, who we can presume would have rather we did not know of the Amarna Period’s existence.

This talatat depicts two princesses of king Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti. Their youth is represented by the hairstyle Egyptologist’s have dubbed the ‘side lock of youth’, a plaited strand or strands of hair on an otherwise shaven head or short hairstyle.

This piece was found among the foundations of the Pylon of Ramesses II at Hermopolis (Al Ashmunin), after having been usurped from the purposely dismantled city of Akhetaten (modern el-Amarna), Akhenaten’s experimental ‘new capital’ city.

The demonstration of affection in this detail showing two of Akhenaten’s daughters is typical of the intimacy allowed in representations of the royal family during the Amarna Period.