During the reign of Akhenaten in ancient Egypt, a new form of monotheistic worship centering on a sun god called the Aten was introduced. To promote his new beliefs, the Pharaoh established a new city called Akeht Aten. The artwork of Akhenaten’s reign was characterized by exaggerated facial features and distorted representations of the human form.
One of the well-known depictions of Akhenaten is holding a duck towards the Aten, offering it to the god in a temple relief. In representations of the Pharaoh, one hand often holds an ankh hieroglyph, the symbol of life, to his nose. This image signifies the giving of life and the transfer of breath from one living being to another.
The presentation of the duck to the Aten highlights the importance of animal offerings in ancient Egyptian religion. Ducks were considered a symbol of fertility and renewal, and their offerings were believed to bring blessings of abundance to the Pharaoh and his people. The artwork of Akhenaten’s reign is notable for its unique and distinct portrayal of the Pharaoh and its emphasis on monotheistic worship.