Rare Ancient Egyptian Representation of an Amarna Female Lute Player
This is a really rare representation of a female lute player from the Amarna time on a bezel from a faience ring. The female lutanist is twisted showing the naval and curve of the belly which is in keeping with the art of the period. She is naked or scantily clad and wears a cone on her head. There is a monkey under the lute and a lotus bud before her face.
Music at Amarna appears to have been associated with offering to the king. The female musician
here seems to be associated with revivication through the youthful and sexualised female. Female
musicians could be high status individuals, even the daughters of kings. In the Amarna Period
(c. 1353-1336 BC) the lute had only been recently introduced into Egypt. However the hair style
of this lady suggests she is not of royal blood. Monkeys are associated with music and dance as
well as female sexuality. The cone suggests divine offering.
The theme of lute player and monkey is also evident on a bowl from Leiden
(Friedman, F.D. ed. 1998. Gifts of the Nile Ancient Egyptian Faience. London: Thames and Hudson, p.212, no. 79)
For comparable Amarna bezels with a female lutanist, see:
- Reeves, N. 1985. ‘A Lute Player of the Amarna Period’ GM 87, 79-82.
- Graves-Brown, C. 2014. A Gazelle, A Lute Player and Bes. Three Ring Bezels from Amarna,
In Dodson, A. Johnston, J.J. and Monkhouse, W. (eds.) A Good Scribe and an Exceedingly Wise Man.
Studies in Honour of W.J. Tait. London: Golden House, 113-126.
Date: Egypt, Amarna Period, New Kingdom, late 18. Dyn. 1351–1334 B.C.
Size: c. 1,4 cm
Provenance: French private collection, formed before 1980
The authenticity of the item is unconditionally guaranteed.
This item is accompanied with an illustrated Certificate of Authenticity.