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Bronze Tongs

1352 - 1336 BC

These tongs, made from a chased and bent strip of bronze, are too elaborate to have been used in a workshop or kitchen, and were probably used to drop pellets of incense in a brazier as a fragrant offering.

In this cultic context the shape of the tongs, ending in a graceful pair of hands wearing bracelets, is especially fitting. They recall the rays of the Aten, which are shown with human hands caressing and offering ankh-signs to the Amarna royal family.

Tomb and temple reliefs ceaselessly show Akhenaten and the royal family making offerings to the Aten, but people outside this small circle did not worship the Aten directly. They focused their devotion instead on the royal family, who served as intermediaries between the human and the divine.