Head of a Queen
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The vulture was associated with several important goddesses. This sculpture depicts a so-called vulture cap: the bird’s oval body sits at the top of the wearer’s head and its outspread wings sweep down beside the face. The vulture’s tail is indicated in back, but its head has been replaced by a royal uraeus-cobra over the forehead. A queen would have worn such a headdress on top of a voluminous wig.
The head shows some of the Middle Kingdom influence that is so pronounced in early Eighteenth Dynasty art under Ahmose and Amunhotep I. Other details—such as the shapes of the eyes and eyebrows—indicate that the head was carved later, to represent either the wife of King Thutmose III or his mother, Queen Isis.
ca. 1479-1425 B.C.E.
10 13/16 x 12 3/16 x 10 3/16 in. (27.5 x 31 x 25.8 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, reportedly from a Third Intermediate Period chapel in the Eastern Delta, Egypt; before 1962, acquired by Norbert Schimmel of Great Neck, NY; between 1962 and 1965, provenance not yet documented; by 1965, acquired by Roger Khawam of Cairo, Egypt and France; 1965, purchased from Roger Khawam by the Brooklyn Museum.
Brown quartzite head of a queen with vulture cap covering striated headdress, traces of uraeus above forehead. Well modeled ears, with trapezoid tabs in front. Plastic eyebrows and cosmetic lines in low relief; rounded eyeballs, upper eyelid rim outlined; small pursed mouth; lips' edge defined by sharp ridge.
Condition: Fragmentary, but sound; nose, center of mouth, and chin missing; the same holes true for the uraeus. Broken off at neck just below chin level, a little higher in back; no trace of back pillar. Chips and blemishes here and there; curious signs of wear in center of back of wig near break.
Head of a Queen, ca. 1479-1425 B.C.E. Quartzite, 10 13/16 x 12 3/16 x 10 3/16 in. (27.5 x 31 x 25.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 65.134.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.65.134.3_erg2.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 10/16/2007
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