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EJ1412

An Amarna Blue Faience Ring Bezel, Egypt, 18th Dynasty, ca 1352-1336 BC

Originally part of a ring, and constructed from a rich, azure-glazed faience, this bezel is quite an important object because the incised text reads:  " All the perfection and life of the Aten".

This inscription paraphrases the pharaoh Akhenaten's Hymn to the Aten (ca 1352-1336 B.C.):   "You rise in perfection on the horizon of the sky, living Aten, who started life"...

cf:  The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry / Edition 3 by William Kelley Simpson (Editor), Robert K. Ritner (Translator), Vincent A. Tobin (Translator), Edward Wente Jr. (Translator).  Mounted in an early 20th century 14K gold ring setting. 

Background:  In the reign of Amunhotep IV, Akhenaten of Dynasty 18, the royal family espoused the worship of the sun disk, the Aten, and neglected the older state and local gods, particularly Amun-Re. The king changed his name from Amunhotep ( Amun is pleased) to Akhenaten (the effective spirit of the Aten), and constructed a new residence city at Amarna called  Akhet-Aten, the Horizon of the Aten, marked out by royal boundary stelae and filled with temples, palaces, villas for the nobles, workshops for the artisans, and housing for the laborers. Throughout Egypt the names of the old gods were systematically hacked out whenever they appeared in public inscriptions on temple walls and elsewhere. The movement was viewed as a reformation, a return to the royal sun-cult of the pyramid builders. It was later regarded as a heresy and did not survive the king's reign. Akhenaten emphasized the international supremacy of the sun disk and his relation to it as a son. In effect, he interposed himself between the Aten and the people, with his worship directed to the Aten and the people's attention focused upon him as the son and interpreter of the Aten. Whether the system can be considered monotheism is debatable.  Bibliography:   The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry / Edition 3 by William Kelley Simpson (Editor), Robert K. Ritner (Translator), Vincent A. Tobin (Translator), Edward Wente Jr. (Translator)

Condition: loss of the shank as can be seen on the back, the bezel intact with no chips, cracks or breaks. The faience bezel set in a 14K gold ring of early 20th century 14K European design.

Dimensions:  Length: 1 inch (2.54 cm).

Provenance:  Originally purchased in London in the 1950's and gifted to the current owner, thence by descent.

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