Talatat: Men Hoeing the Earth

Talatat: Men Hoeing the Earth

c. 1353-1347 BC

Painted sandstone

Overall: 21.4 x 53.3 cm (8 7/16 x 21 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1959.187

Description

In the early part of his reign, Amenhotep IV built an enormous temple to the sun disk (Aten) at the east end of the temple of Karnak. To expedite construction, sandstone was quarried in small, regularly sized, easily manageable blocks called talatat. Unlike the huge monoliths typically used in temple construction, talatat could be carried and moved into position by one man. Not all of the temple was built of stone, however. In this block, workmen are shown bent in toil. They once formed part of a panoramic scene depicting the production of mud bricks. The men are involved in the initial stages of this process: hacking up the earth and gathering the raw clay. It is very likely that this talatat represents a distinct historical event, undoubtedly connected with Amenhotep IV’s huge building enterprises at East Karnak.

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