Circa: 1600 BC to 1300 BC
Dimensions: 10.5" (26.7cm) high
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Style: New Kingdom
This elegant and refined figure is a beautiful example of the skill and craftsmanship of sculptors during Egypt’s New Kingdom. It depicts an aristocratic young woman – perhaps a goddess, for gods and kings/queens were synonymous at the time – dressed in an elegantly-shaped tunic, with sleeves down to her elbows, and a long headdress. She is slim and elegant, with very finely-carved features, a firm jaw and careful detailing on all textile surfaces. She is leaning back against a block, the rear of which bears two columns of hieroglyphics which are likely to identify the person or deity concerned, and to wish benedictions upon them.
The New Kingdom – which lasted from the 16th century BC to the 11th century BC – was the very pinnacle of Egyptian power, when she had a true empire, which gave rise to phenomenal wealth and diversity within her own boundaries. Egypt expanded into the Middle East to fight the Hittites for control of Syria, and also sent armies successfully into Nubia, while opening trade routes with Punt and many other areas of the Near East. Domestic changes included Egypt’s only flirtation with monotheism, and while Akhenaten’s influence attracted many enemies, it also changed the route of Egyptian art. The works of this period are exceptional in terms of their beauty of execution and faithfulness to detail, although some aspects of representation were still formulaic.