Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Head of a granite figure of a king: this royal head wears a composite crown on top of a 'nemes'. The cobra's hood on the uraeus is very broad, too broad for a single uraeus. Originally it was two, the Kushite double uraeus. The pair were smoothed into one by a later usurper. The face of this figure is broad, with full cheeks bulging along the line between nose and mouth. The slightly upturned mouth is small, not much wider than the broad base of the nose. These are all characteristics of Kushite royal images. This face, in its extreme breadth and roundness, and in the faint suggestion of a horizontal ridge of flesh on each cheek beside the nostrils, closely parallels three statue images with the name of Shabako. Both the 'nemes' and the incomplete crown are striped with alternating bands of rough and polished stone. The rough areas would have originally been gilded. When complete, therefore, this gold and black statue represented a Kushite king wearing a divine crown with a sun disk. The remains exist of a back pillar on which hieroglyphic text is visible.


  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 16.5 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 23 centimetres
    • Depth: 13 centimetres
    • Weight: 4.2 kilograms
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Translation

        Titles/epithets include : Lord of the Two Lands
      • Inscription Comment

  • Curator's comments

    This head was long considered a work of the late Ramesside Period. More recently, it was assigned to the Twenty-second or Twenty-third Dynasty. It is one of the finest surviving examples of royal sculpture of the Twenty-fifth, or Kushite, Dynasty.

    These traditional-looking figures also wear jewellery peculiar to the Kushites, with amuletic representations of a ram's head with curled horns. In Kush, Amun was worshiped primarily in his manifestation as a ram-headed man. Though Kushite kings wore Egyptian crowns, they were more often represented wearing their indigenous royal headdress, which consisted of an elaborate diadem worn on their uncovered, short-cropped hair. Instead of a uraeus at the forehead, they wore a pair of uraeus cobras, and their broad, slightly smiling faces appear to be renderings of Kushite features that have been modified, perhaps with a view to making them look somewhat Egyptian.

    This figure was almost certainly usurped by Psamtik II, who took over the monuments of his Kushite predecessors. He erased their names and often replaced them with his own, scraped off their ram's-head amulets, and converted the two uraei into one.

    B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' V (Oxford: Clarendon Press), p. 133; W. Seipel, 'Gott. Mensch. Pharao' [exhibition catalogue] (Vienna, 1992), pp. 368-369 [147];
    'Temples and Tombs' [exhibition catalogue] (American Federation of Arts, 2006), 58, cat no.58.
    E. R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt, 223-225


  • Bibliography

    • Russmann 2001 120 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited: 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
    2016 8 Mar-12 Jun, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, Pharoah: King of Egypt

  • Condition

    fair (incomplete)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number



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Object reference number: YCA59155

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