Old Kingdom Limestone Head of an Official

SKU: MS.0006

Origin: Egypt
Circa: Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, circa 2300 - 2181 BC
Dimensions: 3" Height x 3" Width x 3.25" Depth (7.6 cm x 7.6 cm x 8.25 cm), 5" Height (with stand)
Medium: Limestone

This delicately carved limestone head once belonged to a statue of an official and represents a classic example of old kingdom sculpture in the round.  We can see the remarkable attention to detail found in the treatment of the wig and the face, with short, black, tightly layered curls, heavily lidded eyes, and eyebrows executed in raised relief. The soft smile features a mouth indented at the corners and gives the visage a serene overall countenance. Varying degrees of pigment remain that add a touch of vitality and character to this elegantly executed figure.

Private collection, Switzerland, acquired during the 1950s; and thence by descent. The Property of a Swiss Private Collector; Christie's, London, 23 September 1998, lot 75. with Charles Ede Ltd., London, 1999. Private collection, UK.

Worn chipped loss to top of wig and above right hand side above temple, also worn chips to rear lower edge of rear of wig. Worn chip to tip of nose. Overall surface with rubbing and loss to polychrome, minor surface abrasions and nicks. Underside drilled for mount. Inked 'A*.11' on neck on right hand side. Mounted on wood block mount, inked label underneath '4035'.

During the 5th and 6th Dynasties tombs for private individuals become more common and are often adorned with statues of different scales representing the deceased, either alone or together with their immediate family. Such figures were not meant to be an individual portrait, but rather served the purpose of representing the deceased in his newly-acquired immortal state.

see A Head of a Man, ca. 2350-2280 BCE, Walters Art Museum, 22.62


Old Kingdom

Old Kingdom Limestone Head of an Official

Old Kingdom

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