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Colossal granite head of Amenhotep III

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Height: 287.000 cm

Henry Salt Collection

EA 15

Room 4: Egyptian sculpture

    Colossal granite head of Amenhotep III

    From the temple of Mut, Karnak, Egypt
    Originally 18th Dynasty, around 1370 BC

    Taken over and recut by a later king

    King Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) commissioned a large number of statues of himself in Thebes, mostly for his mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile. This colossal head was found in the Temple of Mut, the consort of the principal god Amun. The temple is just to the south-east of the Temple of Karnak.

    Royal statues in Egypt were sometimes usurped (taken over) by later rulers. The normal procedure was simply to re-carve their name over the old one, but in some cases the physical features were also altered. Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) seems to have altered a number of statues of Amenhotep III in this way, presumably because he wished to represent his ideal image in a certain form. In this statue, Ramesses seems to have concentrated on changing the characteristic thick lips of the older statuary to thinner ones. In other cases he took to reducing the plump stomach areas of Amenhotep's statues to make them closer to his ideal of the physical shape of the king.

    The statue wears the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

    T.G.H. James and W.V. Davies, Egyptian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)

    A.P. Kozloff and B.M. Bryan, Egypts dazzling sun: Amenhotep (Cleveland Museum of Art, 1992)


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    On display: Room 4: Egyptian sculpture