Collections: Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art: Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu

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Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

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    On View: Relief Blocks from the Tomb of the Vizier Nespeqashuty

    The vizier was the highest-ranking governmental official in ancient Egypt. His duties included overseeing the administration of the country ...


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    Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu

    The fragmentary inscription on the dorsal pillar of this head contains a rebus that reveals the owner's name—Wesirwer ("Osiris Is Great")—and part of his title. An inscription on a statue in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to which the head was originally attached (see photo) reveals that Wesirwer was a priest of the Theban god Montu. On the Cairo statue, Wesirwer holds figures of the Theban divine triad—Amun, king of the gods; Mut, his consort; and Khonsu, their child, a god of the moon. He sports an Achaemenid-, or Persian-, style garment, which had been introduced before Dynasty XXVII (circa 525–404 B.C.), a period of foreign occupation.

    The Brooklyn fragment belongs to a group of green-stone heads that combine both conventional and naturalistic facial details. Wesirwer's egg-shaped skull and almond eyes are standard elements of fourth-century works, but the serene gaze is a naturalizing element perhaps evocative of Wesirwer's piety.

    • Medium: Schist
    • Place Found: Karnak, Egypt
    • Dates: ca. 380-342 B.C.E.
    • Dynasty: XXX Dynasty
    • Period: Late Period
    • Dimensions: 6 x 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (15.2 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 55.175
    • Credit Line: Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu, ca. 380-342 B.C.E. Schist, 6 x 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (15.2 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 55.175. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: 3/4 front left, 55.175_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Green basalt male head preserved to spring of shoulders, shaved skull, eyebrows not represented. Neck-line of garment incised. Back-pillar with pyramidal top bearing relief of seated Osiris; below relief, incised inscription preserving only names of Amen-re and Montu.
    • Record Completeness: Best (90%)
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