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Head of a King or Deity

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
The slight smile, soft facial features, and downward-pointing viper on the brow (where there would normally be a rearing cobra) of some of these images suggest that they represent one or more of the kings of the fourth century b.c.e. Whether sculptors’ models or temple offerings (see case label), they illustrate the diversity contained in and the problems associated with this well-attested category of Egyptian art.

For example, the full-figure statuette here (33.593) might seem indeed to have been an artist’s trial piece, and yet its arms are squared off as one would not expect to find on a model. Similarly, the busts might appear to be temple offerings, but several of them have artists’ working marks such as L-shaped depth guides (70.91.2) or a grid pattern (16.76).
MEDIUM Plaster
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 4th century B.C.E.
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 9 1/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/8 in. (23 x 14 x 13 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One plaster mask of an ancient Egyptian male, perhaps representing a king, with naturalistically modeled eyebrows, long hollow eyes and cosmetic lines (both originally inlaid), short rounded nose with deep nostrils, small mouth with upturned corners, and fleshy, double chin. The figure once wore a headdress (the headband of which is just visible along the forehead and the left eartab is still preserved). Condition: There are dark brown lines on the right side of the neck and just above the right cosmetic line (possibly traces of paint); dark spots inside the right cosmetic line, at the tip of that cosmetic line and on the neck; entire surface of head heavily pitted; chips and scratches on cheeks and both sides of neck, tip of nose abraded, some surface discoloration with a great dark spot beneath left eye.
    CAPTION Head of a King or Deity, 4th century B.C.E. Plaster, 9 1/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/8 in. (23 x 14 x 13 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 82.22. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.82.22_wwg8.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.82.22_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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     <em>Head of a King or Deity</em>, 4th century B.C.E. Plaster, 9 1/16 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/8 in. (23 x 14 x 13 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 82.22. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.82.22_wwg8.jpg)