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Jar Lid with Human Face

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The absence of any trace of shoulders indicates that this limestone head was never part of a complete sculpture. It probably served as the lid of a canopic jar, a vessel containing a corpse’s vital organs that were removed during mummification. The artist who carved this face followed the dominant style of mid-Twelfth Dynasty, including full, fleshy cheeks, wide open eyes with a high, arcing upper lid, and an overall sense of serenity.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1876-1837 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY middle XII Dynasty
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 4 × 4 7/16 × 4 1/16 in. (10.2 × 11.2 × 10.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 87.78
    CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Christos G. Bastis and Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Jar Lid with Human Face, ca. 1876-1837 B.C.E. Limestone, 4 × 4 7/16 × 4 1/16 in. (10.2 × 11.2 × 10.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Christos G. Bastis and Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 87.78. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.78_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 87.78_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Limestone head, almost certainly the lid of a vessel, wearing vertically striated wig and plaited beard; square face with full fleshy cheeks, and large ears; thick, horizontal eyebrows descending obliquely across temples; rimmed eyes with deeply carved inner canthi and flaring cosmetic lines extending from outer canthi; upper lids rise in great arcs; lower lids are straight; straight nose (tip gone) with drilled rounded nostrils, shallow fold rising from each nasal ala and extending to a point parallel to bottom of nose; extremely shallow philtrum; mouth wide and straight; lips sharply modeled; end of beard gone. Condition: Entire surface of head chipped and abraded; most severe damage on back; facial damage includes chips on both eyebrows and lids of both eyes; ears, right cheek, end of nose, and lower lip; left cheek abraded. Bottom of head flat.
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