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Head of a Queen

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The vulture was associated with several important goddesses. This sculpture depicts a so-called vulture cap: the bird’s oval body sits at the top of the wearer’s head and its outspread wings sweep down beside the face. The vulture’s tail is indicated in back, but its head has been replaced by a royal uraeus-cobra over the forehead. A queen would have worn such a headdress on top of a voluminous wig.

The head shows some of the Middle Kingdom influence that is so pronounced in early Eighteenth Dynasty art under Ahmose and Amunhotep I. Other details— such as the shapes of the eyes and eyebrows—indicate that the head was carved later, to represent either the wife of King Thutmose III or his mother, Queen Isis.
MEDIUM Quartzite
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1479-1425 B.C.E.
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 10 13/16 x 12 3/16 x 10 3/16 in. (27.5 x 31 x 25.8 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Head of a Queen, ca. 1479-1425 B.C.E. Quartzite, 10 13/16 x 12 3/16 x 10 3/16 in. (27.5 x 31 x 25.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 65.134.3. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.65.134.3_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 10/21/2010
    "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 Brown quartzite head of a queen with vulture cap covering striated headdress, traces of uraeus above forehead. Well modeled ears, with trapezoid tabs in front. Plastic eyebrows and cosmetic lines in low relief; rounded eyeballs, upper eyelid rim outlined; small pursed mouth; lips' edge defined by sharp ridge. Condition: Fragmentary, but sound; nose, center of mouth, and chin missing; the same holes true for the uraeus. Broken off at neck just below chin level, a little higher in back; no trace of back pillar. Chips and blemishes here and there; curious signs of wear in center of back of wig near break.
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    Head of a Queen