Egyptian Stone Head of a Royal
Period: New Kingdom, Ramesside, 19th-20th Dynasty, 13th-11th Century B.C.
Dimensions: Height: 30 cm
Ex-M. Gimond collection, France; ex-P. Lévy collection, France.
This life-size head, with a strikingly particular charm, represents a figure wearing the striped royal scarf, the nemes; the two large ?aps, which hung down behind the ears, are missing. The ears are also damaged. A royal uraeus, whose tail is horizontally rolled up, crowns the nemes. The eyebrows are marked by a simple incised line and not wholly rendered by sunken carving or in relief, an important detail.The cheekbones are prominent and wide bags appear under the eyes. The emaciated and oval face, with its half moon-shaped mouth, expresses a certain satisfaction. The piece is unusual because of its delicate modeling, characterized by soft, almost feminine features.
Regarding the headdress, one should notice that the uraeus with the rolled up tail appears during the 18th Dynasty on the blue crown and not over the nemes (VANDIER, 1958, pl. CIII and CV), a lasting type throughout the following Dynasty. The same shape of uraeus is also attested once on Amenophis III’s double crown (18th Dynasty). For the later periods, pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty wear a double uraeus over a kind of skullcap. Later, this royal snake appears on Apries and Nectanebo (BOTHMER, 1960, pl. 50 and 69), but over a white and blue crown. Finally, the same type of snake is widespread during the Ptolemaic Period (BOTHMER, 1960, pl. 96.101.115), but on these examples, hair locks fall from under the headband, as opposed to our statue. However, there are examples of nemes with a large band and an uraeus with a tail rolled up in the shape of a ?gure eight that covers the hair completely (STEINDORFF, 1946, n. 304, 305 and Turin n. 1399), but these attestations are partially dated.Among the first pharaohs of the 19th Dynasty, the identification with Seti I seems difficult. But this piece shows similarities with the statue of Ramesses II in Turin, which is nevertheless unique in the vast documentation of that period. The comparison with the image of a still relatively young Ramesses II shows a rather elongated face with a broad forehead, full cheeks and a wide mouth but less globular eyes. In general, the attribution to one of the first two kings of this Dynasty seems delicate, but this figure could represent one of their successors.
BOTHMER B.V., Sculpture of Late Period, New York, 1960.
DONADONI S., L’Egitto, Turin, 1981.
HAYES W., The Scepter of Egypt, New York, 1990, p. 334-335 (Seti I).
SCAMUZZI E., Egyptian Art in the Egyptian Museum of Turin, New York, 1965, pl. LVII (Ramesses II).
STEINDORFF G., Catalogue of Egyptian Sculpture, Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1946.
VANDIER J., Manuel d’archéologie égyptienne, vol. III, Paris, 1958.