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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Head from monumental red granite statue of Amenhotep III(?).

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1370BC (c.)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 290 centimetres
    • Weight: 3600 kilograms (estimate)
  • Curator's comments

    PM II (2): p.288.
    Egypt's Dazzling Sun, Cleveland 1992, [174] = Le Pharaon-Soleil, Paris 1993, p.122. [Fig.[14]c].
    Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (Cambridge 2000), p. 36.
    N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 160-61.
    Belzoni, Narrative of Second Journey (New BM edition 181, pl. 28).
    Lewis McNaught, "New light on an ancient face", 'The Illustrated London News', April 1979, (Archaeology 2950), p. 81.This head was stored in Cairo apparently in the house of Signor Rossi in 1818, according to FitzClarence, as reported by Manley and Ree, Henry Salt, p 150:

    'One evening Salt took him to call on Signor Rossi, where he had deposited some interesting items brought from the neighbourhood of Thebes, including a head of 'Orus', "10 feet from the top of the mitre to the chin, having a band at the bottom part of it not unlike a turban ... made of red granite ... and in a very fine state of preservation ... an arm 18 feet long of the same statue with the fist clenched." 'Strudwick N 2006
    This statue, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, was found in front of the temple of Khonsupakhered in the temple enclosure of Mut at Karnak. It is uncertain whether it was originally erected there. An arm from the statue is also in the Museum (Big Number EA 55), while the body has been identified in the Mut enclosure. The broken statue was discovered by Belzoni and Beechey in the course of Belzoni's second journey in Egypt in 1817. They began work at a site where part of a statue protruded from the earth, and soon revealed the head. It took them eight days to move it one mile (1.6 km) to Luxor. The arm was presumably found with it, although Belzoni does not specifically say this.

    For many years, the provenance of the statue was misunderstood and it was attributed to Thutmose III. It is now thought most likely that it was originally made for Amenhotep III, although the inscription on the torso from the Mut temple has been completely effaced. Various details of the face, such as the heavy cosmetic lines around the eyes, point to the style of Amenhotep III's reign, though it is also clear that it has been modified. The cosmetic lines have been largely abraded, and the lips have been adjusted by drilling in the corners to help create the illusion of a smaller mouth. The resultant features are thought to be those of Ramesses II, who is known to have ordered earlier statues to be modified to represent himself, in addition to inscribing them with his own name. In other cases (such as the statue Louvre A 20), Ramesses reduced the relatively plump stomachs of Amenhotep's images to make them conform to his model of the king's ideal physical shape.

    Amenhotep III set up an enormous number of statues of himself in Thebes. This statue may have originated in Karnak, but it is also possible that it was removed from Amenhotep's massive mortuary temple on the West Bank at Kom el-Hitan (see also Big Numbers 3, 5 and 7 and the Sekhmet statues (e.g. Big Number 76).


  • Bibliography

    • Strudwick 2006 pp.160-161 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Condition

    incomplete - head only [EA55 is the arm]

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.15 (Birch Slip Number)


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Object reference number: YCA69308

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