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Royal Torso

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The nemes-headdress, remains of which are visible on the back and shoulders of this torso, was worn exclusively by Egyptian kings. The slight bend at the elbow suggests that the figure may have been sitting.

This sculpture is an example of the great diversity of body types in Egyptian art, which challenges the assumption of an unchanging canon. The broad upper torso, extremely narrow waist, and deep median line of this fragment are features specific to sculptures from the end of the Middle Kingdom. The high polish points to possible reuse of the statue in the Late Period. However, since neither the head nor the inscription survive, the precise identification of the king represented is impossible.
MEDIUM Granite
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 1759–1539 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 12
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 20 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 9 13/16 in. (52 x 52 x 25 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Black granite torso of a king preserved from neck to waist, with grooved lappet of Nemes in front and remains of pigtail ending level with lower portion of shoulder blades in rear. Part of belt in front; in back belt and upper part of grooved kilt preserved. Collar bones and thorax strongly indicated; deep median line curving to left; nipples; stylized muscles on upper arm. The right forearm extended forwards and downwards. Condition: Chips and small breaks in numerous places. Upper right arm mostly preserved; upper left arm only half preserved. Pigtail nearly chipped off.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Royal Torso, 1759–1539 B.C.E. Granite, 20 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 9 13/16 in. (52 x 52 x 25 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 68.178. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 68.178_front_acetate_bw_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 68.178_front_acetate_bw_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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