Height: 142.000 cm
Gift of W.R. Hamilton (1840)
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Bust of a granite statue of Ramesses II
From Aswan, Elephantine Island, Egypt
19th Dynasty, around 1250 BC
From the Temple of Khnum
Many of the main attributes of Egyptian royalty are visible on this statue of King Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). He is shown wearing the two crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, symbolizing the king's control over the country; in his hands are the crook and the flail, which represent his power over his subject; and on his brow is the uraeus, the cobra snake ready to attack any who dare to oppose him.
The beard he wears would have been false (though perhaps made of real hair) and is shown attached to his crown using straps which probably fastened round the ear. The beard is of a type only worn by the king; the beards of gods tend to curl at the ends, while those of ordinary people are shown as much shorter.
The king's names are cut on his shoulders, he wears a collar, and there is an elaborate bracelet on his right wrist.
The statue comes from the Temple of Khnum, the god of the Aswan cataract area, located at the south end of the island of Elephantine.
T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)
E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)
T.G.H. James, Ancient Egypt: the land and it (London, 1988)
S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)