Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Head of a Pharaoh

This exceptionally fine head was removed from a statuette. The youthfulness of the figure is evident and subtly endearing, but the headdress identifies him as a pharaoh, and, therefore, regal bearing and formality dominate the presentation. In its original state, the statuette would have been enlivened with colorful inlays for the eyes, across the eyebrows, and along the headdress, and the center square would have supported a bronze uraeus, or rearing cobra, the symbol of the king. Sculptures made of wood rarely survive. The marvelous state of preservation of this piece, which retains some of the original red and green glass, is due to the extremely dry climate of Egypt and to the protection of a grave.

Head of a Pharaoh
Third Intermediate period, 21st–22nd Dynasties, ca. 1070–712 BC
Wood covered with gesso, gilding, and glass inlays
H. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, 69.158