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Bust from a Seated Statue

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Clothing, jewelry, and objects like staffs and scepters provide clues about individuals represented in sculpture and other works of art. Because certain features like costumes changed frequently, they can also reveal when an object was created.

If we know when a type of wig or garment was popular, for example, we can place a statue with that feature within a very limited time span. The elaborate style of wig seen here, with its twin masses of corkscrew curls, first appeared in the Eighteenth Dynasty reign of Amunhotep III (circa 1390–1352 B.C.E.) and remained fashionable for only a few generations. A faint inscription on the statue’s right arm confirms this dating and also tells us that this official served King Amunhotep IV, the son and successor of Amunhotep III. Five years after Amunhotep IV became king, he changed his name to Akhenaten, dating this statue to within a five-year period.

The two necklaces depicted here represent strands of gold disks, or the so-called Gold of Honor, presented to officials or soldiers who had performed an unusual act of valor. Although the name of this man has not been preserved, he was obviously very important in his time.
MEDIUM Granite
DATES ca. 1353–1336 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Dynasty 18
PERIOD New Kingdom, Amarna Period
DIMENSIONS 22 1/16 × 11 5/16 × 10 7/8 in. (56 × 28.8 × 27.6 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Erased cartouches on right shoulder and right side of chest. The latter illegible, but the first must have belonged to Amenhotep IV. Inscriptions on rear of seat and two columns on back pillar do not preserve owner's name.
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Dark grey granite bust of a seated man with striated and echeloned double wig, plastic eyebrows and plastic upper eyelid rims, double necklace, short sleeved over-garment, incised armlets, and on the right wrist a broad incised bracelet. The figure wears a pleated skirt with loop-fringed upped edge from which a double fold protrudes to the right of the navel. The back pillar bears two columns of inscription increasing to six columns on the back of the chair. On the front of the right shoulder there is an erased cartouche containing a name ending in “w’n-r” (Akhenaton or Amenhotep IV). A second erased cartouche on the right side of the chest is illegible. Inscription on the rear of the seat and back pillar. The identity of this owner is as yet not established. Possibly Parennufer, Ramose, Kheruef, Nebamun, Amenemhat, Surer or Huy. Condition: Broken across wrists just below angle between garment and torso. Nose mostly missing, ears damaged; chipped and scratched in numerous places. Upper right and left rear corners of seat missing. Surface discolored; brownish black in spots.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
CAPTION Bust from a Seated Statue, ca. 1353–1336 B.C.E. Granite, 22 1/16 × 11 5/16 × 10 7/8 in. (56 × 28.8 × 27.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 69.45. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.69.45_erg456.jpg)
IMAGE overall, CUR.69.45_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 7/2/2008
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