Skip Navigation

Head of a King (perhaps Ptolemy XII)

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Both of these heads have several features commonly found on royal sculpture from the end of the Late Period and the early part of the Ptolemaic Period: a slight smile, circular marks at both ends of the mouth, and a triangular area between the eyebrows and the root of the nose. The larger head, wearing the red and white crowns of northern (Lower) and southern (Upper) Egypt, has a needle-shaped back pillar.

MEDIUM Limestone
  • Reportedly From: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES 4th–1st century B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 15 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (38.7 x 14 x 36.2 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone head of king wearing the Double Crown. the piece is preserved from just below the neck up. A back pillar tapers to a point on the upper rear part of the crown. Circling the lower part of the crown is a fillet, the streamers of which are executed in relief on both sides of the back pillar. A uraeus springs from the fillet at the front of the crown. the king wears a beard which does not envelop the chin but which "hangs" from below the chin. the chin itself is rather small. The lips are pursed with their corners being deeply set into the face. Also deeply set into the face are the inner corners of the eyes. The upper eyelids are provided with rather short cosmetic lines. the brows are curved and are treated, in a rather abstract manner, as the abrupt joining of the two planes: forehead and eyesocket. On the small part of the left shoulder which has been preserved are the remains of the modelling of the garment which the king wears. Condition: Left side tip of nose missing. Head of uraeus chipped away. Front surface of beard broken away. Chips along upper edge of red crown and in surface of white crown. Small chips also on cheeks and eyes. Back pillar also is chipped.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Head of a King (perhaps Ptolemy XII), 4th–1st century B.C.E. Limestone, 15 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (38.7 x 14 x 36.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1489E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1489E_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1489E_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
    "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.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.