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Kushite priest wearing garment with leopard's head and tassels, subsequently adapted for a king

Period:
Late Period, Kushite
Dynasty:
Dynasty 25
Date:
ca. 712–664 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Leaded bronze, precious metal leaf
Dimensions:
H. 21 x D. 5.5 cm (8 1/4 x 2 3/16 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift in memory of Manuel Schnitzer and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2010
Accession Number:
2010.259
  • Description

    This beautiful and vital figure represents a Kushite priest. The rounded head with smooth front and rear profiles, small ears, narrow eyes, and assured smile are characteristic of images of Kushites, as is the full, powerful body. The long cords hanging from the belt are associated with Kushite priestly garments.
    Not long after the statue's creation, it was altered for use by a king: in addition to changes made to the statue's limbs, the original rectangular panel at the front of the kilt was recut to have the form of a royal triangular apron with streamers on either side. The fact that the image of an individual was modified for a ruler makes it extremely likely the statue originally represented one of the Kushite princes-known to have been placed in high priestly positions-who had either died or been captured by Assyrian invaders in the tumultuous years between 671 and 664 B.C.

  • Provenance

    Collection of Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, France, by the 1960s. Purchased by the museum from Jean-Pierre Montesino, Paris, 2010, who notes that the original owner recalled to him that she had purchased the statuette in Egypt in 1940 from Phocion Tano.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
587760

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