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Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

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)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 55.175
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    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
    "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 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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