Cartouche Seal Impression Fragment of Akhenaten

£ 595.00

A dark clay seal impression of a partial cartouche with deeply incised hieroglyphs. The left side of the cartouche is missing, broken of in antiquity, however the hieroglyphs assign themselves to Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamun. Amonst the signs that can be seen is the feather of Ma’at, three round Ra signs, the scarable beetle ‘kheper’ sign and the ‘nefer’ sign. The reverse of the impression remains undecorated. This impression would have been made from a signet ring being pressed into unfired clay, acting as a seal to a document.

Date: Circa 1353 - 1336 BC
Period: New Kingdom, Amarna Period, 18th Dynasty
Provenance: Ex private London based collection, AH, formerly in English family collections acquired from the 1920s - 1990s.
Condition: Very fine. Section missing but very clear hieroglyphs.


SKU: AH-939 Category: Tag:

The signs seen here combine both the Throne name of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefer-kheperu-re (translating as “Made beautiful by the shape of Ra) and the importance of the sun god, Aten. Nefer-kheperu-re utilises the scarab and nefer signs within the centre. To the right of this cluster are a group of signs that includes the Ma’at feather and a round sun-disk. Combined these form the name of the sun god Aten. To the left of the pharaoh’s name you see a half-circular sign, this is described as the sun rising from the horizon. Most likely this forms the basis of one of Akhenaten’s epithets and transliterates as wꜤ-n-rꜤ, although the later part is missing. This epithet translates as the ‘unique one of Ra’. The emerging sun sign also, known as ḫꜤ, referred to the idea that the king ‘appeared in glory, shining as the sun at dawn’. Within the New Kingdom, under the 18th Dynasty, we see a large emphasis on the cult of the sun god and epithets and nomenclature highlighted this relationship.

Akhenaten, meaning “effective for Aten” was pharaoh from 1353-1336 BC. Originally known as Amenhotep IV, he changed his name to Akenhaten in the fifth year of his reign, in accordance with his dramatic alteration of traditional Egyptian polytheism. Akhenaten was responsible for ushering in a new quasi-monotheistic religion, with worship focused on the sun god Aten. The change to Egyptian culture that Akhenaten’s reign invoked had significant if somewhat temporary implications on Egyptian art in what is known as the Amarna period. These included a greater naturalism in some aspects as well as the adoption of some unusual motifs in the depiction of people including elongated heads, protruding stomachs, heavy hips and thin arms and legs. Following his death, Akenhaten’s changes to the Egyptian religion were quickly reversed and he was afterwards denounced as a heretic.

Weight 2.3 g
Dimensions L 2.6 x W 1.5 cm

Egyptian Pharaohs

Egyptian Mythology

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar shape: The National Museum Scotland, UK, item A.1922.383 and for Akhenaten's cartouche Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, item M.80.202.864