Bek Self Portrait with his wife Taheret

Bek Self Portrait with his wife Taheret
Bek Self Portrait with his wife Taheret

Bek or Bak (Egyptian for “Servant”) was the first chief royal sculptor during the reign of king Akhenaten. His father Men held the same position under Akhenaten’s father Amenhotep III; his mother Roi was a woman from Heliopolis. Bek grew up in Heliopolis, an important cult center of Ra.

The stele is itself a very distinctive product, with two figures contained within a naos but carved almost three-dimensionally. If, as would seem very possible, Bek himself carved the stele, this would be the oldest self-portrait known. Bek was succeeded as Chief Sculptor by Thutmose.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 BC. Now in the Neues Museum, Berlin.

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