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Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

The fragmentary inscription on the dorsal pillar of this head contains a rebus that reveals the owner's name—Wesirwer ("Osiris Is Great")—and part of his title. An inscription on a statue in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to which the head was originally attached (see photo) reveals that Wesirwer was a priest of the Theban god Montu. On the Cairo statue, Wesirwer holds figures of the Theban divine triad—Amun, king of the gods; Mut, his consort; and Khonsu, their child, a god of the moon. He sports an Achaemenid-, or Persian-, style garment, which had been introduced before Dynasty XXVII (circa 525–404 B.C.), a period of foreign occupation.

The Brooklyn fragment belongs to a group of green-stone heads that combine both conventional and naturalistic facial details. Wesirwer's egg-shaped skull and almond eyes are standard elements of fourth-century works, but the serene gaze is a naturalizing element perhaps evocative of Wesirwer's piety.

  • Place Found: Thebes (Karnak), Egypt
  • DATES ca. 380–342 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 30
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 x 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (15.2 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Green basalt male head preserved to spring of shoulders, shaved skull, eyebrows not represented. Neck-line of garment incised. Back-pillar with pyramidal top bearing relief of seated Osiris; below relief, incised inscription preserving only names of Amen-re and Montu.
    CAPTION Head of Wesirwer, Priest of Montu, ca. 380–342 B.C.E. Schist, 6 x 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (15.2 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 55.175. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.175_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE 55.175_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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