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Amun-Re in a Crown with Tall Plumes

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Many deities in the official Egyptian pantheon can be recognized by their headdresses. The Double Crown of the beneficent goddess Mut, whose name means “mother,” characterizes her as a conveyor of kingship and the divine mother of pharaoh. Amun, whose name means “hidden,” is portrayed as a man wearing a tall, plumed crown. When he appears with a solar disk at the base of the crown, he is known as Amun-Re, who possesses both hidden and solar creative powers. When shown in tightly enveloping garb and with an erection, he may be called Amun-Re-Kamutef, associated with fertility and regeneration. An amulet in this virile attitude would have held the promise of eternal rebirth after death. Monthly rebirth is also invoked by the full and crescent moons of Khonsu, the divine heir of Amun and Mut.

In popular religion the protection of pregnancy and birth was entrusted to such deities as Taweret and Bes. The appearance of Taweret, “The Great One,” as a pregnant hippopotamus with lion and crocodile features is a dramatic symbol of protective motherhood. The dwarf with a lion’s face and legs likely represents Bes, who was worshipped in the home as a protector of motherhood, birth, and rebirth.
MEDIUM Bronze, gold
  • Possible Place Made: Memphis, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 760–656 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 7 15/16 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/16 in. (20.2 x 3.8 x 3.7 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One bronze figure of the god Amun partially inlaid with gold. The figure strides forward in the traditional pose, the right arm down along the right flank, but not pressed to it. An opening through the hand suggests a scepter (now lost) was placed there. The figure sports an elaborately pleated kilt, this emphasized by an incised herringbone pattern on the surface. The belt beaurs incised "braid" work to either side of the central buckle (uninscribed). About the neck a broad collar is seen, inlaid with gold. The torso is well modelled and bears a strong but highly naturalistic median line and slight swelling of the abdomen. The legs are equally well modelled. The face is finely wrought. The lips are full with distinct philtrum, the corners of the mouth upturned. The eyes are deeply set with white of the eye picked out in gold inlay; all cosmetic lines are shown in fine relief and the cheekbones are emphasized. The nose is broad at the base, but in fine proportion to the bridge and rest of the face in general. Modelled on the sides of the head the supports of the beard terminate in a finely modelled on upturned at the tip. It too bears raised decorative braiding. The ears are finelly modelled and very naturalistic. Atop the head Amun sports a crown composed of two feathers and the solar disc. The feathers are decoratively incised. The crown ornament of feathers and disc were also made separately and later placed in slot in the crown. A very fine black patina covers the entire piece. There is a vertical slash across the forehead and brim of the crown and some pitting (probably from the casting) on the feather and solar disc ornament. A dent is also evident on the kilt at the level of the right hip. Condition: Right leg broken at mid-calf: left leg broken at ankle: the lower parts are lost. Arms cast separately. The left arm is now missing.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Amun-Re in a Crown with Tall Plumes, ca. 760–656 B.C.E. Bronze, gold, 7 15/16 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/16 in. (20.2 x 3.8 x 3.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.254E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.254E_print_bw_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 37.254E_print_bw_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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