Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

In this colossal statue, king Akhenaten is depicted wears the Pschent or the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, as well as the khat headdress. In his hands he holds heka and nekhakha scepters, symbols of power and authority. His features are presented in the typical style of the Amarna Period, with narrow slanting eyes, a long thin face, and thick lips.

A group of colossal statues of King Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), originally from the Temple of the Aten at Karnak. These statues may represent the first time that Akhenaten’s new religious thoughts were translated into the ancient Egyptian art and architecture. Here we see the King standing, wearing a kilt that hangs below his swollen stomach. It is tied with a belt, decorated with the royal cartouche.

Colossal Statue of Akhenaten
Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

“… In the endless procession of Egypt’s pharaonic masters, Akhenaten stands alone. He looks different: his often freakish appearance in art – elongated and effete – is totally at odds with that of the traditional Egyptian ruler-hero. And he appears to have acted differently also – most famously by his abandonment of Egypt’s traditional pantheon in favour of a single god, the Aten, or solar disc.”

Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet, Nicholas Reeves, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London, England, 2019

Colossal Statue of Akhenaten
Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

The mystery behind the colossal statues of Akhenaten at East Karnak has led to numerous interpretations of the material. One theory regarding the purpose of the statues suggests that the king wished to separate himself from ordinary people and associate him solely with divinity and the Royal Family.

Colossal Statue of Akhenaten
Colossal Statue of Akhenaten

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 BC. Sandstone, from the Temple of Aten, Karnak. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 49529