Brief Identification Edit
This canopic jar was used to store one of the four major entrails of a deceased individual during the mummification process. After separating the entrails, the jar(s) would be buried with inside the tomb with the deceased individual. This jar originated in the Amarna Period during the New Kingdom in the 18 dynasty in Egypt. More specifically, the jar was found in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes, Egypt. It is estimated that the jar was made somewhere between 1349 and 1336 BC. The jar is currently on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126.
It is not certain to whom exactly the jar belongs. It has been suspected that it could be Queen Tiye, Akhenaten's mother, Queen Nefertiti, Akhenaten's first wife, Queen Kiya, Akhenaten's second wife or Merytaten, Akhenaten's eldest daughter. However, remnants of hieroglyphs lean toward Queen Kiya, as well as the Nubian wig which she was known for.
Technical Evaluation Edit
Most canopic jars were carved from limestone, wood, or other materials. This jar is a combination of travertine (an Egyptian alabaster), blue glass, obsidian, and an unidentified stone. [See http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/30.8.54/] The youthful look to the woman was common, as youthfulness was a desired trait in the afterlife. [See http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/30.8.54/] Most jars had lids that represented to four sons of Horus: Mesti (or a human head), Duamutef (the jackal), Hapi (the baboon), and Qebesenef (the hawk). [See Brier Daily Life of Ancient Egyptians, 48]
Local Historical Context Edit
Pharaoh Amenhotep IV ruled during the 18 dynasty during the Amarna period in the New Kingdom era of the Egyptian kingdom.His rule can be separated into two periods: the proto-Amarna phase and the Amarna years. [See Hill, Art, Architecture, and the City in the Reign of Amenhotep IV / Akhenaten] During the proto-Amarna period, Amenhotep declared there was one supreme God, Aten the Sun God. [See Hill, Art, Architecture...] With this new religious revolution, Amenhotep changed his name to Akhenaten and moved the capital from Thebes to Amarna to pay homage to Aten. [See Hill, Art, Architecture...] During this time, Akhenaten also changed the way architecture was done. Heavy stone blocks had been used in the past in order to hold up the roof. So the people could worship Aten, roofs were not included in buildings of worship. This nullified the need for heavy blocks and they transformed into smaller, lighter blocks. [ See Hill, Art, Architecture...] Unfortunately, after Akhenaten's death, the capital was moved back to Thebes, and parts of Amarna were torn down or re-purposed for other buildings.
In Egypt, slaves were a fairly common sight. However, slaves still had rights. For one, slaves tended to be Egyptian peasants, convicted criminals and prisoners of war. [See David, Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt, 361] Slaves could also buy their freedom and own their own slaves once they became successful enough. [See David, Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt, 361]
World-Historical Context Edit
During this time, Egypt was expanding its control by using military campaigns to influence the Near East and to control Nubia. [See Roehrig, Egypt in the New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1070 B.C.)] Also, with Akhenaten's new religious icon, religion became one where other gods could still be worshiped. The Egyptians also established themselves as not needing certain times set aside to worship, they did so whenever they pleased. Also, rituals in temples were done by proxy, so people did not even have to go into the temple to worship. [See Brier, Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians, 36]
Suggested Bibliography Edit
Brier, Bob, and Hoyt Hobbs. Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Bunson, Margaret R.. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (3). New York, US: Facts On File, 2012. Accessed November 16, 2016. ProQuest ebrary.
David, Rosalie. Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt. Revised ed. New York: Facts on File, 2003.
Roehring, Catharine H. Egypt in the New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1070 B.C.)
Hill, Marsha. Art, Architecture, and the City in the Reign of Amenhotep IV / Akhenaten (ca. 1353–1336 B.C.)