Egyptian and Aegean Art

1) Is the above picture King Smenkhkare  and Queen Meritaten c1350 BCE or is it Tut and hi sister?  Do some research and give some evidence or reasons why you think so.

2) How does Tut's chest echo some of the ideas from the Standard of Ur?


  1. 1) When I start my research, I found many hypotheses about the identities of these two figures. Many of this guessing are not based on evidence and are too fanciful for me. Like the idea that Akhenaten’s clan might come from aliens, due to their weird head shape (“peanut shape”). I decided to base my answers on the information from the professor Kenney Mencher and on the National Geographic web site. These two figures are definitely descendants of the king Akhenaten, because this image shows the physical marque of the Akhenaten’s family. The “peanut” head shape, the none athletic male body (showing femininity), the fold on the stomach and the everyday scene proof that they are related to Akhenaten. Now, it is not clear who this figures are specially the male figure, and for two main reasons.
    First, few elements had been found. Akhenaten had change religious and the way the royalty are shown in the art craft. This might have given him more enemies that his predecessors, therefore when he died temples, statues, and many art craft had been destroyed.
    Also, Akhenaten had no son with his first wife Nefertiti. Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters, and Queen Meritaten was the eldest. The lack of successor might have been a problem for Akhenaten who was already not popular with his big religious changes. So it might have been why the mom’s identity of Akhenaten’s successor was keeping secret from the royal family.
    According to the National Geographic, Akhenaten might have been married to two of his own daughters. One of them would have been Ankhesenamun, who also after Akhenaten death married Akhenaten’s successor the mysterious King Smenkhkare. The national Geographic suggest that King Smenkhkare might have been “played” by Nefertiti. Maybe, (here is my own extrapolation) this “performance” was to give a time to the royal family to choose if Tut, who might have shown poor health already and was only nine years old, could be the next King. The name of Smenkhkare mysteriously disappeared, and King Tut appeared and married his half-sister(and maybe his Mom, here again my own speculation) Queen Ankhesenamun.
    According to Zahi Hawass Archaeologist (National Geographic September 2010), DNA evidence show that Tut was Akhenaten’s son.
    So on this picture, I now believed that it could be Nefertiti (disguised in King Smenkhkare) and Queen Ankhesenamun, daughter and wife of King Akhenaten, daughter of Queen Nefertiti, half-sister (maybe mother) and wife of King Tut.
    I am very confused now, but it was very an intriguing and unorthodox part of the Egyptian history that I am glad to “know” now.

    1) Both objects represented two different scenes with the same plan. They both show heiratic scale where the principal character is represented bigger that everybody else. It is also the iconography of strength and power. They both have the animal that it’s attached to the chariot stamped the enemy. The Standard of Ur scenes are flat and linear. While on the Tut’s chest, we can clearly imaging the action of the attack for the battle scene and the hunting scene..

  2. 1. Based upon my research, I believe the picture depicts King Tut and his sister (Ankhesenamun). First, uncertainty exists as to whether or not one or more rulers were in power during the four years after the death of Akhenaten before Tut assumed the throne. See A theory exists that Smenkhkare is a personal name of a pharaoh with the throne name of Ankhkheprure who allegedly married Meritaten who was the child of Akhenaten. Id. Arguably, the female in the figure could be Mertitaten given the appearance of her belly which is much like that of her father. However, coupled with the analysis of the appearance of the male figure, this observation bolsters the theory that this also could be Ankhesenamun who was also the progeny of Akhenaten. As observed in the lecture by Prof. Mencher, the male figure appears to be using a cane. It is now known that Tut had a deformed club foot and he was known to use a cane, which this figure appears to also be using. Additionally, the male figure shares a similar physical morphology as Akhenaten with respect to his belly. The work also shares the same type of genre as those commissioned by Ankenaten, with a moment of flowers being given to the male figure by the female figure. Thus, my conclusion is that indeed this is Tut and Ankhesenamun.

    2. Tut’s chest and the Standard of Ur share some similar ideas. One common element of the two works is the utilization of the hieratical scale. Tut’s chest depicts him as larger and more physically imposing that other humans in the work. The King figure in the Standard of Ur is also represented in this fashion. Tut is portrayed as a warrior and hunter, not an invalid with a club foot and other maladies. The King in the Standard of Ur also appears to be powerful the war side of the chest portrays him as victorious over his enemies while on the banquet side a bountiful harvest and livestock are representations of a prosperous culture of royal subjects. A second idea present in both Tut’s chest and the Standard of Ur is the representation of events occurring during the lifetime of the ruler. However, Tut would not have engaged in a battle and walked with a cane. It is not known whether the King depicted in the Standard of Ur ever fought a battle either. Arguably, one may observe that given their status as kings both men would want to be remembered as powerful rulers who were victorious over those who pursued war against them-power over man and beast are common threads running through both works.

  3. Cassandra Rodriguez

    I think that this picture is a picture of King Smenkhkare and Queen Meritaten. Just as Caroline said I found that the body types of the people fit King Smenkhkare and Queen meritaten a lot more accurately than that of Tut. For example both figures have the unique heads and were thought to be products of incest. They also look very similar to Akhenate and his images. What really made me come to this conclusion is more that the image does not look like Tut or any other drawings or paintings of Tut. Tut was young, strong, and fit, and this figure does not appear to have any of those qualities.

    Tut's chest is very similar to the Standard of Ur. The figures and symbols are very similar in both pieces. For example the head warrior is the focal point in both pieces and is emphasized in this way by being larger than all of the other figures. Another way is they both use color and lighting to make the figures stand out from the background.

  4. 1. I believe that this image could be either Meritaten and her husband and half-brother Smenkhkare or King Tut and his sister. I believe that Smenkhkare was an older version a relative of Tutankhamun, with both classified as either sons or sons-in-law of Akhenaten. King Smenkhkara is depicted the same as Akhenaton was depicted. This could also be King Tut and his sister which is also his wife because King Tut was clubfooted and he had bone problems which is why he is shown carrying a cane.

    2. On one side of King Tut’s chest there is actually a battle and it shows a warrior fighting that battle. One the other side we see a scene of hunting. It represents the role of the king where we see King Tut who is bigger than everyone else. He is shown defeating his ememies and running them over. Just by looking at it, you can see that both the standard of Ur and King Tut’s chest shows horses. Both of these represent power and control of a person that is portrayed much bigger than the rest.