Ancient Egyptian limestone relief offered at Bonhams

An Ancient Egyptian limestone relief will headline Bonhams’ Antiquities sale on July 6 in London.

It bears the name of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Queen Nefertiti and dates to circa 1351-1334 BC.

Akhenaten limestone relief

Most references to Akhenaten were destroyed after his death

The couple are among the most colourful figures in the history of Ancient Egypt - quite a feat given the civilization flourished over thousands of years.

Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamun, took the throne in 1351 BC.

He almost immediately tried to steer Egypt away from its traditional gods to a single sun god known as Aten, a move that angered the priesthood.

Cartouches relating to Akhenaten are particularly rare, as most of his monuments were destroyed after his death.

He was only rediscovered after archaeologists found the ruins of a city he’d had built on the east bank of the Nile.

Nefertiti, meanwhile, was one of the great beauties of her age. She is believed to have ruled for a time after Akhenaten’s death.  

Bonhams Head of Antiquities, Francesca Hickin, said: “The reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his beloved Queen Nefertiti is one of the best known eras of Ancient Egyptian history and objects from that period hold endless fascination for collectors.

“This intriguing stone relief has a direct connection to the royal couple reflecting the ideas introduced by Akhenaten by promoting his new name, which included the name of the new god Aten, together with a reference to his queen Nefertiti.“

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