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statue

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA7

  • Description

    Quartzite head of Amenhotep III: wearing a red crown with uraeus. Despite its huge size, this head has been carved with infinite care. As on all of Amenhotep Ill's large statues, the eyeballs are noticeably angled back from the top to the bottom lid so that they appear to look down toward the viewer. The finishing polish was deliberately varied, from a glittering smoothness on the facial surfaces to less polish on the mouth and eyes - which thus seem slightly different in colour - to quite rough surfaces on the brows and cosmetic lines. It is a round face, with plump, youthful-looking cheeks, and little indication of the underlying bone structure. The eyes are large, long, and rather narrow, with a slight slant. Heavily made-up eyebrows and upper lids, indicated in relief, extend back to the temples. The nose is rather broad at the nostrils, with a round tip. The mouth is full, its contours defined by a crisply cut outline. The upper lip is thicker than the lower, over which it droops in the centre. The lower lip curves in a perfect shallow arc up to the open corners of the mouth, to produce the effect of a slight smile.

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  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 117 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 81 centimetres
    • Depth: 66 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    When complete, this statue, which measured more than twenty-six feet (eight meters) tall without its base, showed Amenhotep standing with feet together and arms crossed in the Osiride pose, but wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt and a short royal kilt. It was one of a set of almost identical statues that stood between the columns on two sides of a colonnaded courtyard. Similar statues lined the opposite side of the court, but they were made of red granite and wore the white crown of Upper Egypt.

    The Osiride pose of this statue has been interpreted as a reference to Amenhotep's first 'sed' festival, the royal rite of rejuvenation, celebrated in the thirtieth year of his reign. At about this time, and possibly as a result of this celebration, Amenhotep attained full deification while still on earth. He was worshiped through statues such as this one.

    Bibliography:
    B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' II (Oxford, 1972), p. 453 (with earlier bibliography);
    T. G. H. James & W. V. Davies, ‘Egyptian Sculpture’ (London, 1983), p. 38, fig. 45;
    P. Kozloff, B. Bryan and M. Berman, 'Egypt's Dazzling Sun'
    (Cleveland, 1992), pp. 156-158 [6] = 'Le Pharaon-Soleil' (Paris, 1993), pp. 126-128 [6];
    G. Robins, ‘The Art of Ancient Egypt’ (London, 1997), p. 122, fig. 135;
    'Art and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt' (Japan 1999-2000), p. 32 [5];
    'Temples and Tombs' [exhibition catalogue] (American Federation of Arts, 2006): 52, cat no. 10;
    P. Nicholson and I. Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (Cambridge 2000), p. 54;
    N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 154-5.

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  • Bibliography

    • Russmann 2001 52 bibliographic details
    • Strudwick 2006 pp.151-155 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Great Court

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1990 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat no.24
    1990 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat no.24
    1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.49
    1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.49
    1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.49
    1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
    1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
    Eternal Egypt
    2001 1 Mar-27 May, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
    2001 28 Jun-21 Oct, Wonders: The Memphis International Cultural Series, Memphis Tennessee
    2001-2002, 23 Nov-24 Feb, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York
    2002 12 Apr-7 Jul, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
    2002 10 Aug-11 Nov, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor
    2002 22 Dec-2003 16 Mar, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    2003 26 Apr-12 Aug, The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
    2003 21 Sept-2004 18 Jan, The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland
    2004 28 Feb-6 Jun, The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario
    2004 10 Jul-31 Oct, Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, British Columbia
    2005 Jan 22-15 May, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec

    Temples and Tombs
    2006 7 Sept-26 Nov, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2006 21 Dec-2007 18 Mar, Jackonsville, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Temples & Tombs
    2007 15 Apr-8 Jul, Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2007 16 Nov-2008 10 Feb, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Temples & Tombs
    2006 7 Sept-26 Nov, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2006 21 Dec-2007 18 Mar, Jackonsville, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Temples & Tombs
    2007 15 Apr-8 Jul, Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Temples & Tombs
    2007 16 Nov-2008 10 Feb, New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, Temples & Tombs

  • Condition

    incomplete - head only

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1823

  • Acquisition notes

    Previously entered in error as coming from the 1835 Sotheby sale

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA7

  • Registration number

    .7

  • Additional IDs

    • BS.7 (Birch Slip Number)
    • EA 7
COMPASS Image Caption: Front view

COMPASS Image Caption: Front view

Image description

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