Sandstone head of Mentuhotep II: This head comes from an Osiride statue, which represented the king with his royal headdress but with his body wrapped in a short white cloak. Beneath it, his arms were crossed over his breast, with only his hands exposed. Since the paint on this head is unusually well preserved, we can see that it followed the standard convention of showing the king's face a dark red, as on most representations of Egyptian men. His eyes and eyebrows were painted black and white. The white crown retains traces of white paint.
- 2055BC-2004BC (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Temple of Mentuhotep
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Deir el-Bahri (Thebes),Temple of Mentuhotep)
- Height: 77 centimetres (max)
- Width: 21 centimetres
- Depth: 31 centimetres
The Osiride royal statue, apparently an innovation of Mentuhotep's reign, expressed the king's assimilation after death with the great god Osiris, the king of the dead.
Bibliography: 'Art and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt' [exhibition catalogue] (Japan 1999-2000): No 1 B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' II (Oxford, 1972), p.393
'Temples and Tombs' [exhibition catalogue] (American Federation of Arts, 2006), 42, cat no.1;
T. G. H. James & W. V. Davies, ‘Egyptian Sculpture’ (London, 1983), p. 25, fig. 24;
G. Robins, ‘The Art of Ancient Egypt’ (London, 1997), p. 94, fig. 94.
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
2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt
[Theme: A Country in Chaos]
2013, 25 Oct- 2014, 15 Feb, Wuhan, Hubei Provincial Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt, PROMISED
incomplete - head only
9 February 1999
Reason for treatment
Clean, improve repair on chin. Consolidate laminations as necessary and remove plaster residue. Devise/improve mounting system. C
The head, is heavily polychromed over the face, in particular the red pigment of the flesh. There is excess red around the ears and between the eyes. The black of the beard and eyes is crude and also heavy. There is plaster makeup under the chin which is deteriorating at the back. The paint layer over this makeup is unsightly. There is white pigment remaining, thinly, over much of the crown which also has traces of a `ground' in areas on the proper right behind the ear and upwards from here. The sandstone is slightly friable as is much of the excess red and black pigment. There is a heavy layer of handling dirt on the sides of the crown and around the lower edges of the face. There is a 1" dowel of stainless steel, reducing to 1/2" some 3" from the point of entry. This is slightly bent. The whole dowel protrudes from a sleeve.
The handling dirt on the white crown was removed with the application of a poultice of laponite containing Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone), following a precautionary test for any fugitive behaviour in the white pigment. The dirt cleaned off well and the pigment was stable. The red and black pigment on the face was fugitive and whilst not wholly believing the excess pigment to be original (an analysis has been requested), this was first consolidated with polyvinylbutral at 25% in Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and subsequently cleaned with saliva and swabs to a reasonable degree. Overcleaning would have resulted in the disruption of the pigments. A new Portland stone base was designed and a longer dowel, of stainless steel, fitted.
4 April 1991
Reason for analysis
Identification of Egyptian stone sculpture
See also PR01233.
Analysis reference number
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA60937
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