Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Book Review: The Akhenaten Colossi of Karnak

Al Ahram Weekly (Jill Kamil)

Lise Manniche, The Akhenaten Colossi of Karnak, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo and New York, 2010

You will want to read this book -- but perhaps not in the order in which it is published. In The Akhenaten Colossi of Karnak, Lise Manniche examines the colossal statues of the pharaoh Akhenaten erected at the beginning of his reign (1353 -- 1335) in his new temple to the Aten at Karnak. Fragments of more than 30 statues are now known, and show paradoxical features of the king combining male and female, young and aged.

Akhenaten was one of the most controversial rulers of Egypt. Soon after his death his monuments were taken apart and hidden inside or under subsequent buildings. His statues were overturned, mutilated or destroyed. His name was included on none of the subsequent king lists carved in stone or recorded on papyrus by his successors. In other words, the art of the so-called Amarna period, and the life of the pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, were all but stricken from the record and would have been obliterated were it not for modern scholars.

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