• Egypt, early Ptolomaic period (c. 300–250 BC)
  • Fine limestone 
  • Inv. 167

Low-relief of a pharaoh

Representing the head of a pharaoh in profile wearing the khepresh, the blue crown used by the monarch in battle or on ceremonial occasions, and a necklace depicted in minute detail. The khepresh is ornamented in front with the uraeus, the symbol of royal power, and behind by the falcon god Horus, protector of royalty, which holds the symbol of eternity, shen with its claws.

Despite the delicacy and precision of the detail, this low-relief was only a preparatory study for a final work, carried out shortly before the death of Alexander the Great, at a time when Ptolomey Soler, son of the Governor of Egypt, took over power, governing as king.

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Howard Carter from the Khawan Brothers, Cairo, 1926.

H. 24 cm; W. 18 cm 

Assam 1991

Maria Helena Assam, Arte Egípcia. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1991, pp. 96–7.

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.), Museums Discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woodbine Books, 1995, pp. 30–1.

Araújo, 2006

Luís Manuel de Araújo, Egyptian Art. Calouste Gulbenkian Collection. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2006, pp. 142–3, cat. 36.

Updated on 22 april 2022

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