Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Head of Tutankhamun, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 b.c.
    Egyptian
    Indurated limestone; H. 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.6)

    This head is a fragment from a statue group that represented the god Amun seated on a throne and Tutankhamun standing or kneeling in front of him. The king's figure was considerably smaller than that of the god, indicating his subordinate status in the presence of the deity. All that remains of Amun is his right hand, which touches the back of the king's crown in a gesture that signifies Tutankhamun's investiture as king. During coronation rituals, various types of crowns were put on the king's head. The type represented here—probably a leather helmet with metal disks sewn onto it—was generally painted blue, and is commonly called the "blue crown." The ancient name was khepresh.

    Statue groups showing a king together with gods had been created since the Old Kingdom, and formal groups relating to the pharaoh's coronation were dedicated at Karnak by Hatshepsut and other rulers of Dynasty 18. The Museum's head of Tutankhamun with the hand of Amun is special because of the intimacy with which the subject is treated. The face of the king expresses a touching youthful earnestness, and the hand of the god is raised toward his crown with gentle care.

    Tutankhamun was born at Amarna and originally named Tutankhaten. He was probably the son of Akhenaten and came to the throne as a child. He was married to the third daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Ankhesenpaaten/Ankhesenpaamun. During his reign, and probably acting through officials such as General Haremhab (23.10.1), he began the extensive restoration of the temples damaged by Akhenaten and abandoned Amarna for Memphis and Thebes. He died young and was buried in the Valley of the Kings in a splendidly furnished tomb, which would lay undisturbed until it was rediscovered by Howard Carter in 1922.

    This work of art also appears on 82nd & Fifth: Fragment

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    On view: Gallery 121
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  • Head of Tutankhamun, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 B.C.
    Egyptian
    Indurated limestone; H. 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.6)

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