- Museum number
Fragmentary limestone head of a male figure, the right side of the face and body now lost.
The figure is depicted with a tonsure hairstyle, with the head shaved and bald on top. On the reverse and left side the remaining hair reaches to just below the ear, and partially covers the tops of the ear. The hair is incised across the surface to indicate a wavy texture. The eyes are framed by arched wide eyebrows, and the nose is broad though fragmented. The mouth is wide with thick and fleshy lips that appear pursed together, with the outer corners relaxed.
In addition to the loss of the right side of the head, there is damage to the nose, eyes and chin. There are notable long scratches across the forehead of the figure, and a large portion of the top of the head is missing.
Height: 7 centimetres
Weight: 0.30 kilograms
Width: 8.20 centimetres
Depth: 4.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This head was recovered during the excavation of the temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri in Thebes (Naville 1913; PM II). Though the exact findspot of the figure head is uncertain, a range of other votive statue fragments from the New Kingdom were also found within the temple site. It has been argued that this head originally belonged to a block statue, based on the raised head and angled neck as well as the apparent attachment of the chin and lower neck area to another area of stone (Russmann 2001).
This distinctive hairstyle is associated with a group collectively referred to as the ‘Bald Ones of Hathor’, who were priests associated with a cult devoted to Hathor known from the late New Kingdom (Clère 1995). While some attestations of ‘bald-headed ones’ are noted within the 18th Dynasty, generally these figures more typically date to the early 19th Dynasty; without an inscription or larger portion of the statue remaining, it is difficult to definitively date the British Museum piece.
J-J. Clère, 1995. Les chauves d'Hathor. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta Vol. 63. (Leuven), p. 171-172, Pl. 27c.
E. Naville, 1913. The XIth dynasty temple at Deir el-Bahari Vol. III. (London), p. 24, Pl. XVII.5.
W. Seipel, 1992. Gott. Mensch. Pharao (Vienna), p. 334-335, no. 131.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
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
- fair (incomplete -head only - chipped)
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number