Akhenaten’s Beard, And Other Details

Starting The Beard

Starting The Beard

I spent a bit of time looking at images of pharaonic tie-on beards (now there’s a sentence I never expected to write – not in a normal frame of mind, anyway!) while I tried to work out how best to portray the impression created, even if maybe not the precise pattern that was used for Akhenaten’s version.

The patterns included a sort of interlaced pattern, and a vaguely herringbone-brick-like pattern, and some widened towards the base, and others became narrower and curled up a little at the tip. My version – based on the images of the Colossi of Akhenaten that inspired this piece – widens towards the base.

Akhenaten's Beard

Akhenaten’s Beard

I’ve chosen a plaited effect in blue and gold, using one of the standard gold threads from Thistle Threads and a plain blue silk perle, alternating two stitches from each side (the blue is used double, so had to be flattened and untwisted at every stitch). It required a bit of juggling with needle, thread, and bone stiletto to keep everything in order, but once I had the trick of it, the beard progressed relatively smoothly.

The widened base isn’t quite as wide as it was, but on the whole, I’m fairly pleased with it. So I’ve added a few more details, and some of them I am really not sure about.

Torso To Assess

Torso To Assess

I’m happy with his belly button. Somehow it makes him even chubbier!

I think I’m also happy with the cartouches on his tummy. It’s the same silk as the background, but turned at right angles, which shades the colour slightly.

My concern lies with the armlets and wristlet. I’ve given two of them edgings, one of gold pearl purl, the other of flattened silver purl with a gold strip threaded through, and at the moment, neither of them looks right.

I do have an idea for the crook and flail he is holding, but I may leave those and buy the materials at the Harrogate Knitting And Stitching Show. So I have time to think, assess, and Stare Thoughtfully.

And as one of my offline friends reminded me recently – Akhenaten wasn’t known for smoothly following the existing tracks during his lifetime. It would be too much to expect his stitched representation to do so!


  1. Jen Mullen says:

    You are certainly coming along with Akhenaten! Love the beard and the potbelly. 🙂

  2. Meredithe says:

    As usual – wow! Love the belly button!

  3. I think the beard must have taken a lot of concentration to get that even.
    The belly button DOES make him a bit chubby!
    I like your expression Stare Thoughtfully!

  4. Sheryl says:

    I like how you have done his beard and the colour too. great belly button.

  5. Lin Tarrant says:

    The beard looks great and I like the finish of the right hand (as it faces me ) arm band. xx

  6. Catherine says:

    I really love his beard! The combination of colours looks wonderful with the surrounding elements. It’s a shame you still aren’t happy with the arm bands. Hopefully something will strike you soon as to how to progress with them!

  7. Alex Hall says:

    The beard detail is fantastic.The interlacing works really well to get that almost plaited look.

  8. Lady Fi says:

    The details are fabulous!

  9. Carolyn Foley says:

    You have achieved a lot here.

  10. Sue Jones says:

    His beard works beautifully, stands out and looks just the ticket. And what a different that belly-button makes! I hope you find exactly the materials you need to finish him at Harrogate.

  11. Susan says:

    I do like the beard! Either of these armbands looks better than the first ones, but I understand why you aren’t satisfied yet. You’ll figure it out. Maybe something wonderful at that show you mentioned?