Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, March 11, 2011

Marrianne Luban reports that more pages of her former website are reappearing and might be of interest:


My impressions of two oft-discussed persons here are Queen Tiye or the EL

http://www.oocities.org/scribelist/elder.htm

and this one I can vouch less for due to it being only a skull--the KV55 individual

http://www.oocities.org/scribelist/kv55.htm

I do my portraits by using very thin paper to trace over the dimensions of the actual mummified heads or skulls [although I don't like to do anything from a mere skull] and then using ancient portraits to restore what has shriveled.

I am delighted to pass these on. So much of the news at present is heavy and it is nice to have something lighter to share.

77 comments:

John Bright said...

I am intrigued by KV55's reconstruction as it reminded me of something that I came across as a teacher. Some years ago I taught a class of 10 year olds about Egypt, including The Amarna Period. The walls of my classroom were decked out with suitable illustrations including a selection of photos of artwork from Akhnaten's time. Several of the children were of African origin (Ghana to be exact). One of their mothers remarked to me on a Parents' Evening that Akhnaten's portrayal was definitely West African and she sent me in a picture to prove the point. Looking at Marianne's sketch reminded me of this. The only problem I saw with the idea was that Akhnaten was 1300 BC, while the art in question was 1500 AD: a pity, as it seemed a novel approach to the origins of his style.

Marianne Luban said...

The outcome of the KV55 skull reconstruction surprised me by its feminine quality. But we know for sure now this was a man. Does it resemble anything from art? Yes! I wish it were possible to find a profile view of this wooden coffin, pressed into service for the re-burial of Ramesses II:

http://www.art.com/products/p15015797-sa-i3450834/o-louis-mazzatenta-wooden-coffin-case-of-the-pharaoh-ramses-ii.htm

[mouse over the face for a better view]

This must have been made around the time of the reign of Tutankhamun since this type of ears is only seen from the Amarna era until then. What one can't see from the frontal view is the turned-up nose of the face of the coffin and the whole thing basically agrees with the face of the visceral coffinettes appropriated for Tut, which I have also seen in profile. But those coffinettes, we now know, were made for a woman king. So here were some people with a definite family look.

John Bright said...

Joyce Filer remarked that the KV55 bone structures were gracile, giving a slender build. This might result in a feminine appearance, but supposing he had inherited what Barbara Mertz termed "The Tuthmosid Beak"?
I wish I could remember more details of this, but there was a TV documentary about 15-20 years ago in which a replica of this skull was made (presumably using laser scanning techniques). This was then used as the basis of a reconstruction. I think the same has been done for Tutankhamen. It is so long ago that I cannot recall how they arrived at the shape of the lips or ears. It is an interesting exercise and one that would now be worth re-attempting along with KV35YL who, the DNA suggests, is related to KV55. I think that would be possible if both faces were looking to the right.
As for the coffin of Ramesses II, I have wondered if UV scans or even a simple rubbing might show traces of earlier inscriptions. Nothing obvious is visible from viewing it through a glass case. It would be ironic if Ramesses had been reburied in the coffin of Ay!

Marianne Luban said...

The face of the cedar coffin is defintely not that of Ay. The angle of the nose is determined from the bridge of the skull. No Thutmosid beak there, which would result in a bridge with a different angle. The one who began the snub nose in the dynasty was Amenhotep III. Tut has this nose, more or less, as well.

Marianne Luban said...

The oddest result came from the head of the mummy labelled "Seti II". If this is even close--it would be very strange, indeed.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ZqzZuWXCeiU/StKyKxZCAAI/AAAAAAAAACE/Ih4zlmAvfl8/s1600-h/noseti2.jpg

John Bright said...

Reeves has suggested that the coffin of Ramesses II could have come from Horemheb. I have seen Ramesses I also suggested as the source. From what I have read, no-one seems to think it is original to Ramesses II. I have seen a photo of the profile on a book cover: give me a day or two and I shall see if I can find it.
The skull of KV55 had to be glued back together: it might have been done by Derry. It is possible that it is not exactly as it should be. According to the anatomists, both KV55 and Amenhotep III share a heavy brow ridge. KV55 is also said to have a "pronounced overbite" a feature common among 18th Dynasty Royal Family members. As to the shape of the skull, there have been several pronouncements: hydrocephalic, brachycephalic (I hope I have the correct spelling) etc, the experts do not seem to agree!
One point the latest interpreters seem to agree upon is that there is no sign of malformation as suggested by the Aten temple colossi from Karnak. In the Louvre there is one of these on display along with a "normal" statue of Akhnaten. This latter shows him as full faced rather than the gaunt figure of the colossus.
"What is truth?" asked Pontius Pilate. With KV55, it is difficult to know.

John Bright said...

@Marianne: I found the book rather quicker than I thought I would. It is:
Peter Clayton
CHRONICLE OF THE PHARAOHS
Thames and Hudson
London 1994
The profile of the coffin is on the left of front cover facing right: in the middle, facing forward is the gold mask of Tutankhamen: to the right and facing left is the Louvre statue of Akhnaten. The profile of the coffin is very different to this latter.
In:
Christiane Ziegler
I FARAONI
Bompioni Arte 2002
A catalogue of an exhibition held in Venice, on P.345 there is an excellent quality frontal colour-view of the coffin.
JOhn Romer's VALLEY OF THE KINGS has a copy of Brugsch's original photo (monochrome) on page 136.

Stephanie said...

Hi, I finally found some time to join the discussion.
@John
There has been a computerized facial reconstruction of the YL`s face which was shown in the programme about Fletcher`s quest for Nefertiti. The face looked interesting, not unlike the face of Nefertiti`s famous bust. But the lips were fuller than that and the back of the nose was not so straight but a little bit bumpy which would go along with what we know now of Nefertiti`s underlying face. I do not subscribe to Fletcher`s theory but the YL could well be someone closely related to Nefertiti.
Of course it could well be that the reconstruction has been more or less influenced by the assumption that the YL was Nefertiti. As I have read and heard several times the shape of the lips, the lower part of the nose and the ears are mainly guesswork in a facial reconstruction.

One remark on the much-cited feminine appearance of the Amarna-kings: I think we do not take into account that the representations we see are paintings and sculptures which make the faces appear very smooth and perfect. This does not harm kings who display features like strong or beaky noses or thin lips because we associate those features with masculinity. So much that it is sometimes hard to tell representations of Hatshepsut and ThutmosisIII apart.
Now combine facial features like small thin noses and full lips with the not lifelike smoothness of sculptures and many people will say they look feminine. It is probably no co-incident that mainly those portraits which display light and unnatural skin tones like limestone sculptures, the gold mask or Tut`s alabaster heads from the canopic vases more often provoke comments on their feminine appearance than others.
But take a look at say Lewis Hamilton, who displays the same full lips and small nose, but would anyone say that he looks womanish? Probably not, because the expression and general appearance of the face make it appear clearly male.
I think it is basically this what happens with the portraits of the Amarna kings. Would we come face to face with them or would somebody bother to make a facial reconstruction with a more natural skin tone and appearance than has done by now then I guess we would hardly call them womanish.

Marianne Luban said...

@John, it is not difficult to glue a skull together. One need not even have all the pieces. The KV55 skull is in good condition save the absence of a few teeth that disintegrated when the remains were discovered. The remaining teeth are in beautiful condition. With all due respect, I do not see the usefullness of conjuring up more negative scenarios than one can prove such as "perhaps the skull wasn't glued together correctly". There is no more hydrocephalic tendancy in the KV55 skull than there is in that of Tutankhamun. In fact, the measurements of both skulls vary only a little. The brow ridge is not heavy at all and the alignment of the teeth or "bite" is straight without any prognathism. However, the same book you mentioned is where I first saw the profile view of the coffin of Ramesses II. There is not a shred of proof that it was originally intended for Horemheb or anyone beyond him.

Geoff Carter said...

RE: teeth; I know this is somewhat left field, but in European prehistory some interesting insights about peoples geographic origin are being obtained by analysis of Oxygen isotopes in teeth.
Could this be interest, particularly for the female mummies, as well as some more interesting dynasties like those of Intermediate periods?
[assuming relevant base data exists]

Anonymous said...

John i kind of think marrianne might be right on this one re the glueing together of the skull. I have seen profiles of the skull in various documentaries and it looks kind of like a skull should look like in profile ie smooth. What do you mean exactly that it might have not have been glued together properly? daveh

Kate Phizackerley said...

@Geoff, I suspect the key is "assuming relevant base data". It's why we need testing of non-royal mummies or perhaps even better body fragments.

Charles Green said...

The impression looks to be very influenced by Amarna than what the skull might indicate. It is not a forensic reconstruction. Why has the suggestion made by several eminent egyptologists about the coffin been so disparagingly treated? If not Horemheb or Ay, then who is being suggested? Surely it is not Akhnaten!

@John. I looked up your references and you seem to have done your homework.

Marianne Luban said...

@Charles, it is as much a forensic reconstruction as any other. Nobody--and I repeat nobody--can get a true and accurate portrait from a mere skull--except by mistake. One can get the angle of the nose, the shape of the jaw, the forehead, and other angles depending upon bone structure, but one can never reconstruct the lips or recreate the eyes so vital to a person's appearance. Therefore, what is wrong with being influenced "by Amarna", using a composite of family traits as depicted in the art in the round? This was a family member! Who else should the person have resembled, in your opinion?

JOhn Bright said...

@Charles: in the documentary I saw some years ago, the reconstructor (is that a word?) placed depth markers over the skull copy to give average skin thickness expected from a 25 year old male. She based her nose and ear reconstructions on "typical"(I know, what is typical?) Ancient Egyptian types but I do not recall how she reconstructed the lips. Similar techniques were used for The Manchester Mummies and were documented in Dr Rosaalie David's book. I think The Manchester Mummy recreations were the first in this field.

John Bright said...

@Charles:I forgot to mention the book:-

Rosalie David
Mysteries of The Mummies
Book Club Associates 1978

Page 172 onwards has the sequence of photos showing a 3D reconstruction: fascinating stuff!

Charles Green said...

@John Bright
I checked what you said about the overbite and brow ridge. Joyce Filer noted the overbite in her examination of the skeleton in 2000.

It was |Elliot Smith who commented upon the brow ridge. He said it was a feature the skull shared with those of Amenhotep III and Thuya.

Joyce Filer also made the point there were no signs of abnormalities as portrayed in Amarna art.

Marianne Luban said...

@Charles, everyone has an overbite. But a pronounced overbite is where the upper front teeth do not even touch the bottom front teeth, which is the case with the mummy of Thutmose III. It is obvious in a photo of the KV55 skull that the individual did not have what is commonly known as "buck teeth" and I do not know why Smith thought these upper incisors so prominent except, as he says, as a way to link KV55 to the 18th Dynasty. Well, everything is relative, I suppose, but I found that the Seti II mummy had much more of an overbite. Moreover, Prof. Smith never wrote that this person had a pronounced brow ridge, either, in the manner of a Neanderthal or something. All he said was that the forehead sloped backwards from the superciliary ridges in the "Armenoid" fashion [like the mummies of Thutmose IV and Amenhotep II and Unknown Man C] and made the rather astonishing observation that this constituted a "racial" difference between KV55 and Amenhotep III, tne latter striking him as an "Egyptian type" but not the other! Obviously, Smith was wrong there, as DNA testing has served to instruct. Regardless Smith did not compare the superciliarly ridge of KV55 with those of Thuya for sure--because anatomists rely on the fact that those of males are normally more prominent than those of females when it comes to sexing skeletal remains. It is one of the primary considerations. I would say, in summary, that Professor's Smith was doing all he could to confirm Maspero's conclusion that the skeletal remains belonged to Akhenaten, even calling the person by a version of the name, that being "Khouniatonou". That this was a bit of a liberty for an anatomist is certainly highlighted by the fact that, even with DNA, we still are not so sure who the KV55 person is.

Marianne Luban said...

Go here for a good look at the skull:

http://anubis4_2000tripod.com/mummypics1/Akhenaten.jpg

Marianne Luban said...

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypics1/Akhenaten.jpg

Trying again. For some reason, it is not easy to paste URLs into this forum.

Marianne Luban said...

Still not working. This is how the address ends:


/Akhenaten.jpg

Kate Phizackerley said...

Marianne, it's working for me! I'll tidy the link up for you whenI get home
Kate

Charles Green said...

Joyce Filer and Elliot Smith both handled the skull and did not work at a distance from photographs so their observations are from the actual object.

Marianne Luban said...

Well, they didn't do any reconstructions. Are you saying that this photo of the skull, with which *I* worked does not accurately represent its dimensions? If not, I wish you would give a good reason why because we are getting to the point, Charles, where I don't know exactly what you are trying to say.
Now--for those in a less negative frame of mind, take a look here:

http://tiny.cc/crz1t

I have this book at home and it gives a very large and instructive profile view of one of the canopic heads from KV55. It also corresponds very well to the dimensions of the skull. In fact, when I traced the skull on a transparent sheet of paper and superimposed it over this portrait, it was a pretty good fit on all the points. This is what the brow of the skull looks like normally, with the skin and muscles there. [You couldn't lift your eyebrows without those muscles.] There is still a slight indentation above the superciliary ridge but it doesn't look anything like as deep as it does on the bare skull! I bought this book long after I did my artistic reconstruction--just for that photo on the cover. Because the moment I laid eyes on it I realized how much it resembled the portrait resembled the dimsensions of the KV55 skull. In fact, no matter who this is, it probably has a better resemblance, familial or otherwise, than my drawing. Whether the canopic head is a portrait of the face of a woman or not doesn't matter, because the skull itself has a small face unlike that of a robust male.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Marianne, your second link works for the KV55 skull

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypics1/Akhenaten.jpg

Great photo by the way.

I'm coming to hate the restrictions of Blogger. I cannot see how to make links in comments clickable. I'm very busy today but I will spend some time on it as soon as I can and see if I can make it better.

Kate

Marianne Luban said...

Hi, Kate--yes, it would be more convenient if the links were clickable but there is always copying them via control + c. It's manageable. The problem with those URLs of mine could have been with my own browser. When I looked at my "saved" posts, the ends of the URLs were always cut off. But another problem here has been solved for me--the word verification process. For the longest time, the letters didn't appear for me! What I had to do was type in any word and then, the second time, when I was told the word was the wrong one, I could see the subsequent word and could type that one correctly. Now I see the word the first time and that's nice, saves a little time.

Technical stuff aside now, a few more words about those canopic jars from KV55 and their lids. Some time ago Kate posted about them and supplied an article by Cyril Aldred about them. Aldred thought they belonged to Meritaten whereas others have postulated Kiya--but the fact remains there are no inscriptions now opon the jars to tell the tale. They were all erased in antiquity. But Aldred did make the significant point that the wig worn by the heads was unisex. Men wore them was well as women and those big collars, too. So, just because the face is pretty doesn't mean it wasn't meant to portray a male. However, a rather odd feature of these heads is the uraeus. Was a uraeus there in the first place--or not? In any case, the bangs of the wig were smoothed down to represent the brow band and this caused suspicion that the uraeus on each head was added later, too. This, chiefly, is what has led people to believe the lids--if not the whole canopic set--were appropriated from a dead woman for a king. That Kiya was the dead woman was indicated by the coffin having been likely appropriated from her, too, and refurbished for Akhenaten. Maybe--but I have to add that, if it's Kiya we're looking at she must have been a member of the 18th Dynasty royal family and even the mother of the KV55 mummy-skeleton because the faces are so alike. However, on page 6 of "The Royal Women of Amarna" there is a partial head of someone who is supposed to be Nefertiti, uglified in the Amarna style, with a double uraeus protruding from a wig with no visible brow band. The same is true of a head of queen Tiye and, on another head of Tiye, the little one of boxwood, there is a browband but the uraei still project from the wig. In fact, on all sorts of kingly portraits in the round the uraeus comes out of the headdress without any sign of a brow band. It could be, therefore, that the sculptor had carved the heads and then decided to add a browband for a more regal effect at the last minute. We'll never know now. Oh, by the way--is the name Kiya ever attested outside of the mention of Akhenaten's wife? The answer is yes. In the volume "Pharaohs of the Sun" there is a stela from Amarna depicting a woman and her daughter. The daughter's name is Kiya. Sorry I don't have this book and can't supply the page number. I only borrowed it from the library, but I'll never forget that stela!!

Stephanie said...

In his essay "Hair Style and History" Aldred points out that the short style nubian wig which exposes the nape of the neck and which is the one we see on the canopic jar lid was much more worn by royal and higher class women than men.
Men preferred a longer style which covers the neck wholly and which has been worn by many high ranking officials like Aye, Horemheb and Maya.
I think this would point more to the person depicted on the lid being a female rather than a male.

If it is Kiya she could well have been a member of Aye` s family or of the extended royal family which could account for the similarity of the features with the royals. But it could also be that she was not related and bore no similarity to the royals but was depicted with similar features as was common among high courtiers.

And Marianne, does the stela you mention depict Kiya as a child or as a grown-up daughter?

Marianne Luban said...

@Stephanie, Aldred supplies an image of two non-royal guards wearing the exact same wig as on the jar lids:

http://www.metmuseum.org/publications/bulletins/1/pdf/3257776.pdf.bannered.pdf

I think that taking for granted those lids portray a female may be one of those blythe assumptions of the Amarna Tar Pits. Aldred, who did assume it, believed the face belonged to Meritaten. I would have to say that makes more sense than it being Kiya, given the resemblance to the KV55 skull in the facial countours. In all of Egyptian art, if one wasn't portrayed with ones own face, one got the face of the current ruler--and the latter was most often the case. That's how we have been able to date many a commoner tomb in the environs of the West Bank of Thebes to a particular reign. The Kiya of the stela was not a child but a teen or young woman of indeterminate age.

John Bright said...

Stephanie, I was lucky enough to meet Joann Fletcher some years ago at an Amarna Study Day. During a coffee break we had a conversation about the hair/wig styles on the KV55 coffin and canopic jars. It was her opinion that they were both female.
W.C. Hayes writing in Sceptre of Egypt identifies the erstwhile owner of the jars as Meritaten. I have seen the jar from the Met in New York and the one that was on show in Basel close-up, or, in the latter case, at least as close as a glass case allows:about 30cms or so. The workmanship on the faces is superb, superior to the painted faces of Tutankhamen's stoppers. Whoever they were made for, a great deal of skill was expended upon them. I assume they were intended to be housed in a gilded four compartment box, but I have not seen this discussed at any length.

Stephanie said...

The military is where the short-style wig actually came from, so guards as some sort of soldiers are likely to wear these wigs.
Even Amenhotep II is depicted in Nubian war-outfit wearing the short wig.

But IMO the crucial point is that by the time of Amarna apparently the short wig had become fashionable among royal and high-ranking women, but men other than soldiers would wear the longer style wig.

I am not completely sure, but I think that on the talatat-blocks it is only Nefertiti and rarely Kiya who are depicted sporting the short wig, but not Akhenaten himself. Am I wrong here?

John Bright said...

Nefertiti is shown on the talatat wearing this type of wig. There is a selection of photos in Redford's book on Akhnaten. It is only these early years blocks at Karnak that show her so dressed, after the move to Amarna, the berlin bust style crown appears. I'm not sure if from that time she is shown exclusively in the crown though.

Marianne Luban said...

@John, Nefertiti continued to wear this wig even at Akhetaten--and various other wigs and crowns. She is wearing the wig in the banquet scene in the tomb of Huya.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Banquet_scene_in_Huya's_tomb.png

s stockwell said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/sets/72157600062321297/with/5432207032/


The canopic jar lids may well have been created in the studio of Thutmose at Amarna. Looking at the collected photos in the link above, it is clear that the artistic aim of the sculptors was to capture realistic portrayals of the subject not to uniformly idealize them as in an earlier period and generally throughout Egyptian art. Here we see the hand of a true genius, a Michaelangelo of his time, who captures essential characteristics and mood that the sitter possesses. He is consistent and shows the definition clearly between personalities. We can depend on the gifts of these artists to show us very closely what the prominent figures of Amarna looked like. My point here is that we do know what they looked like we just are not sure who is who?

Marianne Luban said...

Come on--there are many masterpieces of portraiture from Egypt before and after the latter 18th Dynasty. In fact, the Old Kingdom was one of the golden ages of statuary. But, say, here is a little video about re-creating Egyptian artifacts and mummies.

http://vimeo.com/4978596

Some of them look quite terrible but some rather wonderful--and in a brief scene it is demonstrated how gold foil was applied.

Charlotte said...

@canopic jars

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924028654691#page/n93/mode/2up

(There are a slew of canopic jar images on this link.) The heads are of varying quality and probably made by more than one person. The more attractive head shown in profile by Marianne certainly bears some resemblance to Nefertiti. But two seem to have the rounded face and straight neck from Amenhotep III's reign and two are more in the Amarna style of pointed chin and swan neck. I am wondering if Tiye ever wore a Nubian wig?

John Bright said...

The original photographs taken for the Davis publication show that the jars were in varying states of preservation. Davis was awarded one of the best quality ones and that is now in New York. The remainder are in Cairo except when one is on tour with a Tutankhamen Exhibition. In the Davis volume there are two photos included of Tiye from other sources. One is the bust from Abu Ghurob and housed in Berlin, the other is the steatite miniature found by Petrie in Sinai. The Berlin head is shown in profile to enable the reader to compare it with the jar heads. The miniature is exactly that and you can hold it in the palm of your hand. I leave it to the viewer to make up his/her own mind on any resemblances.

As to the origins of the KV55 jars, there have been arguments put forward that they were prepared before the move to Amarna so that if that is indeed the case, it cannot be said they came from the atelier of Tuthmosis.

There is an interesting news item on the BBC news website science page about an attempt being made to construct a 3D "replica" of the head of a mediaeval Archbishop of Canterbury from a ct scan. No doubt there will be a documentary next year!

s stockwell said...

Comparisons of Egyptian sculptor skillsets aside, and on the path of the forgery of antiquities, did anyone notice how the bust of Nefertiti sticks out like a sore thumb among all the other pieces from Thutmose studio? check this out.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/sets/72157600062321297/with/5432207032/

Marianne Luban said...

Thanks, S, that's a good site. This mask looks like Yuya!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/5433011159/in/set-72157600062321297/

Compare

http://www.oocities.org/scribelist/yuya.htm

Stephanie said...

I agree that the one picked out by Marianne could well be Yuya because the mask shows the same square jaw as we can see in his mummy. If the nose wasn`t damaged it would probably even more telling.
This collection of masks is truely fascinating as they are so life-like.
Were they really made by the application of gypsum directly on the living faces?

It is tantalizing that one can quite easily distinguish between royal and non-royal faces but labelling some of the pieces with individual names is a rather different story.
We think we know which one represents Akhenaten or Nefertiti, but beyond them it becomes a bit blurry.
Yuya is the lucky number because we have his well-preserved mummy. One would suppose that his wife Tuja is also represented among the masks, but which one?
We probably know all the names of the non-royal individuals but lacking their mummies it is mainly guesswork.

There are suggestions that the non-royal with the lean face and narrow eyes could be Aye, but this could be due to the long-held theory that Aye murdered Tut and the face appears to belong to a shrewd and maybe ruthless person.

Marianne Luban said...

You're right, Stephanie. Without a profile view of that square-jawed mask we can't say one thing more than "looks like Yuya" because for it to be him [and not a relative]there has to be some vestige of Yuya's very aquiline nose. But I have seen a profile view photo of this mask nowhere. Certainly, it does not represent a very feminine face in my opinion. I can say with great certainty that this one is Amenhotep III.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/5432996569/in/set-72157600062321297/

The feature agree very well with the one seen on the nobles of his reign [and sometimes these portraits look more like the sovereign than his own because his were idealized]. I did an experiment of tracing the contours of the skull of Amenhotep III on a piece of transparent plastic and superimposed that over the profile view of this mask. It was a fit on all points and after that I did not doubt the mummies identity any longer. This result was on my defunct website and if oocities has preserved it I haven't found it yet. This next one I am pretty sure is Queen Tiye. I also know the features of Aye and he is there, too. But not the sinister one with the damaged nose.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/5433082805/in/set-72157600062321297/

Marianne Luban said...

Speaking of masks--here is a very beautiful one going back to the 6th Dynasty:

http://www.oocities.org/scribelist/tetis_mask.htm

s stockwell said...

Aldred was deeply fascinated with these masks from Thutmose's studio and did investigate. The thought originally was that they were life masks actually made on the sitter but with careful analysis it became clear that they were made from original sculpture pieces that were considered successful and possibly approved as an archetype. These pieces were reserved there in the studio for reference. They did find tiny seams on the pieces that did expose the truth. The German Gov. has been extremely tight with these pieces and it is thought that there are others that are not photographed or ever on view.

Marianne Luban said...

I am deeply fascinated by them, too, and wish I could get a better look at them--in person. But this website contains the best photos yet. I must say I really cannot recognize Thuya among the masks. I did this facial reconstruction of her

http://www.oocities.org/scribelist/tuya.htm

Therefore, I looked for the narrow forehead, very broad cheekbones and small chin and found only the cheeks of this lady

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/5433030349/in/set-72157600062321297/

The face of this mask looks very European to me while that of Thuya seems rather Asiatic--although some have claimed her to be "typical Egyptian". I don't know. For another thing, I think the lips of Thuya, now much compressed, must have once been considerably fuller than those evidenced by the mask. But my impressions may be wrong.

Anonymous said...

These plaster models: are they death masks or casts from sculptures? Do any of them have inscriptions that actually identify them or are the identifications more conjecture?

Marianne Luban said...

I think they are "life masks" and there are no inscriptions. Identifying them is more than conjecture because there are other portraits and even mummified remains that are very helpful. I, for one, have been studying those for years. Even though I am not an artist and never draw anything else [I couldn't draw a proper horse, for example, to save my life] I am able to draw the faces just from having memorized the details of all of the above. BTW, Yuya and my late father could have been brothers there's such a resemblance. When my dad was alive, I'm sure he caught me staring at him often as I wondered why he looked like an Egyptian mummy!

Stephanie said...

If we assume that these masks were made on the living sitter then of course we must ask if Yuya and/or Tuya and AIII could have been alive at the time of about the middle of Akhenaten`s reign.
AIII could have been if we propose a co-regency, but Yuya`s and Tuya`s ages would have been quite advanced. Tiye probably died around year 14 aged about 50, so her parents would have been at least in their late sixties or seventies.

I do not exactly remember how old they are thought to have been judging by their mummies, but they were of advanced ages. So if they were advanced enough it could at least in theory be possible that they popped in at Akhetaten to see their daughter and grandson, great-grandchildren etc.

If the masks are not "life-masks" then no personal attendance would have been necessairy.
S. Stockwell has IMO convincingly pointed out that they were more likely casts from sculptures.
Besides, if a cast is taken from a living person the nose could not be covered completely or the poor sitter would quickly suffocate. I think it should be visible on close examination if the noses are completely sculptured or if the lower part is incomplete or maybe added to later?
At the first glance the masks look really "airtight" allover.

John Bright said...

I have wondered about the purpose of these masks as they seem to be unique to this era. There are also trial pieces from Amarna but these are on flat surfaces. It goes without saying that to make a mask such as this, there needs to be a mould. As far as I am aware from what excavation reports there are, no such moulds have been found. So if, as Stephanie points out, there is no sign they were made from a living sitter, it would seem some sort of sculpture was the original or master. That, however, still leaves the question of why do it? Could the intention have been to have provided a "reserve head" as found in some Old Kingdom tombs? Or are they simply heads to be copied on further sculptures (which would be logical for a find from a studio)? My father had a collection of rods that were standard lengths for window frames. Each was labelled with the type of window etc. so that all you had to do was place the rod against the wood to be cut and you had the right length for the window. It was an old cabinet maker's custom handed down over the years. It pushes me in the direction of thinking these casts are standards to be followed. In that case, there ought to be sculptures that clearly follow the faces portrayed in the casts. Its an interesting line of enquiry: who was who among the Amarna casts?

Stephanie said...

Thinking about John`s suggestion another problem arises: We have plenty of 3D-sculpture of the members of the royal family, and one or the other might even resemble the casts so we could say they were made based on the masks.
But where at Amarna are sculptures of non-royals, say high officials, which display the features seen on the masks at least to some degree. I can think of none, but maybe and hopefully another fellow blogger has seen some.

The masks were probably not used as casts for death masks either as everyone wanted to have an idealized face for eternity as we can see in Yuya`s and Tuya`s gilded masks.

John Bright said...

I spent the afternoon thinking about this while I was weeding the vegetables. A friend of mine used to cast slabs of plaster of Paris then carve a relief on the surface. He made it look easy. So my thought is, are these actually casts or are they plaster that has been carved? I have only seen photographs of them so I cannot say what impression they would give "in the flesh".

Marianne Luban said...

I believe the actual impressions were made from clay. I saw someone do this from a living person on TV [a makeup artist] and straws were inserted in the nostrils so the person could breathe. I do not claim to know the purpose of the Amarna masks, precisely why they were made [but they must be part of the literature and someone must have done a thoroughly study] yet I don't think one need wonder who in the family was still alive at a certain date in the Amarna interlude. Correspondence from the reign of Amenhotep III was found at Amarna, too. The tablets must have been brought there. A gifted artist called Thutmose, son of another artist, had a tomb at Saqqara [see Zivie's "The Lost Tombs of Saqqara", page 68. There were emendations in the text of the tomb to include the name of the Aten. Kozloff called this Thutmose "the Egyptian Michelangelo" so there is a good chance it's the same man who had the workshop at Amarna--but had previously worked elsewhere even in the reign of Amenhotep III, intending to be buried at Saqqara. Since Zivie says nothing about any artifacts in the tombs of Thutmose and his father, Amenemwia, they likely ended up elsewhere.

s stockwell said...

Interesting pages in Cyril Aldred's, "Akhenaten and Nefertiti", pp 42-47. Find a discussion of all the issues brought forth here. He describes a process that was very sophisticated and a studio operational as a production center for a myriad of objects large and small scale that came off the line completed by underlings and run similar to those of the Roman era or even the Renaissance masters. So Thutmose was an exceptional maestro who may well have been so gifted that sculpting these almost charactertures of all the leading figures in clay and then making a mold so that duplicates could be produced was an easy way to have reference available for his large team of artists to follow. I will see if i can find these pgs from Aldred's book on the net? they are amazing.

Charlotte said...

@masks
Some of them are obviously made from sculptures (missing eyebrows etc). Some seem cast from life. The head Marianne designates as Tuya has traces of hair at the forehead and eyebrows so it would seem it was cast from life. As the mouth looks askew, maybe it wasn't seamed quite right. It is the only one with a hawk nose, which Thuyu has as well. Tiye seems to have inherited her snub nose from Yuya.

http://communaute.louvre.fr/louvre/statuette-de-la-dame-touy

Anonymous said...

I have seen the "Thuya" head designated as Amenhotep sonof Hapu: now that would be someone to find at Amarna! Unknown Person remains just that.

rymerster said...

A few more faces for consideration - firstly the unnamed head in the Louvre that I think may represent Ay, if he was a relative of Nefertiti/Yuya:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rymerster/4841327309/

A variation on the "Thuya" face in the Met:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rymerster/5271673633/

A side view:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rymerster/5271672637/

KV55 canopic jar lid, side view:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rymerster/5271665687

Marianne Luban said...

@rymerster, those are excellent photos of the head of a woman and, now that I have seen it in profile, thanks to you, I do not think it represents Thuya at all. However it is definitely not Aye. His features are well-known from his commoner tomb at el Amarna. This one is Aye for certain:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/menesje/5463803768/in/set-72157600062321297/

Stephanie said...

I am getting the feeling that Yuya and Tuya got mixed up.
Marianne has proposed a mask to be Yuya (male), not Tuya (female). Yuya is the one who`s mummy displays a large, slightly hawkish nose, but Tuya`s features are very delicate and her nose is slim and small. In my personal opinion Tuya`s is the most beautiful of the female mummies I have seen, even more beautiful than the KV35-ladies.
The statuette given in charlotte`s post represents a lady of that or a similar name, but we can hardly be sure that it is "our" Tuya. Besides it is a very conventional piece of art and does not exhibit a detailed life-like representation of her face.

I find the most convincing assignment is that in Marianne`s most recent post to be Aye.
It is clearly male, about the right age to be Aye and features the heavy-lidded narrow eyes we see in many of Queen Tiye`s portraits as well as in most Amarna kings. A close family connection between Aye and them seems inescapable, not only on grounds of likeness but also of archaeological evidence.

On the other hand I would not take the sculpture of a male in the Louvre as anyone`s portrait.
It has many unusual features (too big and uneven eyes, lopsided mouth, rough finish with scratches all over) and could also be a forgery.
The sculpture has been discussed earlier I think.

Anonymous said...

But! All these are still unnamed pieces. Unknown Person from Amarna.

LM466 said...

One of your contributors stated that the skull had been broken and put back together wrongly. The comment was treated with some considerable scorn by another correspondent. The skull was dropped reputedly by Smith's assistant. It was put back together again in Derry's time. When it was examined by James Harris, it was found that it had been re-assembled wrongly. Harris had to undo the repairs and start again. In the second re-assembly, the lower jaw was moved back to increase the overbite. The brow ridge over the left eye also require rebuilding to restore the prominent ridge line mentioned. "How difficult is it to put a skull back together?" was the rhetorical question posed. Clearly harder than might be imagined. As for the Amarna head elongations, Dr Gay Robbins has shown these result from the use of a different grid system by the Amarna draughtsmen.

Marianne Luban said...

Since James Harris did not publish his study, nor did Fawzia Hussein--how do you know that the skull had to be "re-assembled"?

Anonymous said...

Joyce Filer in issue 17 of Egyptian Archaeology.

"In January 2000 the writer was delighted to be offered the opportunity to re-examine the remains from KV 55.. This provided an excellent chance to resolve some of the questions posed by these remains: how much of the body is extant, its gender, age at death and if there is any evidence of pathology... The new examination took place in a private room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where the body is now housed...Immediately, the question as to how much of the body still exists was answered. Harris and Weeks (1973) had stated that 'only an incomplete skeleton and broken skull remain' and that they 'are in a very sorry state of preservation', but this directly contradicted the observations made by Harrison during his 1966 examination. In fact, apart from one or two elements, the skeleton is almost complete and overall is in quite a good condition. The question of the possible confusion (or loss) of skeletal elements was raised by Nicholas Reeves in an article in JEA 67 (1981) and it is important to recognise that the body is in fact virtually intact. The post-cranial remains articulate together perfectly and smoothly and the base of the skull articulates with the atlas, but slightly less smoothly...Several features clearly indicate a male gender.

LM466 said...

Professor Edward Wente: "Who was who among the Royal Mummies". Wente wrote this in 1995 about James Harris's work. The conclusions were somewhat controversial as they involeved re-identifying several of the mummies based on cranio-facial proportions.


X-Ray Atlas of The Pharaohs

Marianne Luban said...

Wente's paper can be read here:

http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/nn/win95_wente.html

It says nothing about the KV55 skull having been "re-assembled" by Harris. "X-Ray Atlas of The Pharaohs" begins to discuss the skeleton on page 145 and only says, on the following page that the remains "are in a very sorry state of preservation; only an incomplete skeleton and broken skull remain". But nothing about "re-assembling"--and the remarks upon the state of the remains have been contradicted by other examiners, including Joyce Filer. But it scarcely matters as the photo of the skull, from which I did my reconstruction, was taken prior to 1912, long before Harris ever saw the bones, and which was the year in which Professor G. E. Smith published his "The Royal Mummies", the book in which the skull appears. One can't see anything broken in that photo.

As for the theory of Wente and Harris, set forth in the paper, something about it struck me many years ago when I first read it. It seems to completely ignore the fact that the kings of Egypt had mothers as well as fathers [whose family traits they could also inherit]and that brother/sister unions were not uniformly the case throughout the 18th Dynasty. That all men ought to resemble their fathers is a poor premise on which to build a hypothesis and so far DNA testing has shown Wente and Harris as "batting zero".

Marianne Luban said...

It isn't "The Xray Atlas" that mentions something on page 145-6 but "Xraying the Pharaohs". But I also have "The Xray Atlas" and am not going through the whole lengthy tome. YOU supply the page where it states that Harris re-assembled the skull--or admit you read this nowhere.

Stephanie said...

Regarding Wente`s study I am wholly with Marianne. As his work does not include any of the kings`mothers it cannot serve as a sound basis to question the otherwise attested succession of kings.

It may only be useful to find out information and peculiarities of each individual.

I think he (or others) should go ahead and include the now known queens in the study such as KV 35 YL+EL and maybe the KV21 ladies, this would give a better picture.

John Bright said...

This article in which Harris and Hussein publish their results might be of interest to you all:

"The Identification of the Eighteenth Dynasty Royal Mummies: a Biological Perspective."


James E. Harris and Fawzia Hussein.

JOURNAL OF OSTEOARCHAEOLOGY VOL1 1991 pp235-239




They have detailed measurements of 18th Dynasty skulls and an overlay of the skulls of Amenhotep III, KV55 and Tutankhamen.

There is a website that has a copy http://wysinger.homestead.com/harris

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