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Head of a King

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

Sculptors working for the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt occasionally showed their royal subjects in traditional style. This head depicts a Ptolemaic ruler wearing the ancient nemes-headcloth with a protective uraeus cobra. The king's ovoid face with full, fleshy cheeks suggests that the artisan may have been trying to reproduce the physical features of a specific ruler. However, in the absence of dated parallels for this head, we do not know whom it represents.

MEDIUM Basalt
  • Reportedly From: Egypt
  • DATES 3rd century B.C.E. (probably)
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 16 x 16 1/2 x 16 in. (40.6 x 41.9 x 40.6 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 53.75
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Head of a King, 3rd century B.C.E. (probably). Basalt, 16 x 16 1/2 x 16 in. (40.6 x 41.9 x 40.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 53.75. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE front, 53.75_front_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Black granodiorite head of a king wearing nemes headdresss with out pleats. Uraeus in high relief with body extending on to crown of head. Full face, conventionalized features, eyebrows not indicated, puckered mouth deeply recessed at each end. Condition: Headdress extremely broken, especially on rear; one portion reattached. Chin broken. Surface of face abraded in scattered areas. Preserved to base of neck.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (87%)
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