Length: 39.000 cm
Width: 4.370 cm (max.)
Thickness: 1.760 cm (max.)
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Faience throwstick of Akhenaten
From Tell el-Amarna,
18th Dynasty, around 1330 BC
To ensure the king's regeneration
Wooden examples of throwsticks that were meant
to be used have been found in the burials of Amenhotep II and
Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, while model ones made of
While the wooden examples might actually have been used for hunting game birds, the faience ones could not be thrown without being broken. So what was their purpose? As is often the case in ancient Egypt, the explanation lies in the symbolism of rebirth and new life. Scenes of hunting game birds with throwsticks are common in New Kingdom private tombs. The Egyptian words for 'throwstick' and 'beget' (procreate) are very similar. Scenes of hunting game birds may therefore be an allusion to the creation of new life. The shiny and brilliant nature of faience suggests an association with the sun-god, Re; the blue-green colour is also associated with rebirth and new life.
This model, placed in the burial of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, 1352-1336 BC), would thus be a ritual object designed to ensure the king's regeneration after death.
F.D. Friedman (ed.), Gifts of the Nile: ancient Egy (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)