Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragmentary Face of King Khafre

Old Kingdom
Dynasty 4
reign of Khafre
ca. 2520–2494 B.C.
From Egypt; Probably from Memphite Region, Giza, Pyramid Complex of Khafre
Travertine (Egyptian alabaster)
H. 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103
Khafre was the son of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. He built his own pyramid, the Second Pyramid, at Giza just to the south of his father's. Khafre's pyramid complex included a mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid which was connected by a long causeway to a valley temple. To the north and northwest of the valley temple he constructed the Harmakhis Temple and the Great Sphinx.
Many statues and fragments of astonishing quality and in a spectrum of fine stones were recovered from these temples or in their vicinity. This fragment was found at Giza and entered the MacGregor collection; its similarity to the faces of statues of the king from his temples and the traces of a royal beard on the chin identify it as a portrait of Khafre. The surface and warmth of the stone and the sensitive indication of fine muscles around the nose and particularly around the mouth are remarkable.
Formerly MacGregor Collection. Purchased by Lord Carnarvon at MacGregor sale(Sotheby's, 1922, lot 255). Carnarvon Collection, purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, 1926.

Wallis, Henry 1898. Egyptian Ceramic Art: the MacGregor collection ; a contribution towards the history of Egyptian pottery. London: Taylor and Francis.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 65, fig. 42.

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