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Striking Power—the very first exhibition and publication to explore the history of iconoclasm in ancient Egyptian art—is an in-depth examination of the widespread campaigns of targeted image destruction that periodically swept through ancient Egypt, driven by political and religious motivations. Focusing on the legacies of pharaohs Hatshepsut (reigned c. 1478–58 BCE) and Akhenaten (reigned c. 1353–36 BCE), as well as the destruction of objects in Late Antiquity, the book pairs damaged works, from fragmented heads to altered inscriptions, with undamaged examples. In ancient Egypt, the deliberate destruction of objects—a nearly universal practice that continues in our own day—derived from the perception of images not only as representations but also as containers of powerful spiritual energy. Considering this historical phenomenon, Striking Power raises timely questions about the power of images and the ways in which we try to contain them.
ISBN 9780997690194. Pulitzer Arts Foundation/Brooklyn Museum.