This bust comes from one of the colossal Osiride statues of Hatshepsut that originally stood over 15 feet (4.6 m) high. The statues were attached to the square pillars of the uppermost portico of her temple at deir el-Bahri. Hatshepsut holds a crook and flail across her chest and once wore the White Crown of Upper Egypt indicating that this fragment belonged to a figure positioned on the southern side of the portico. The head of another figure (31.3.159) wears the Double Crown and would have been on the northern side.
These colossal figures were architectural accents rather than freestanding statues and were carved from the same limestone blocks that were used to construct the colonnade. Some twenty years after Hatshepsut's death, the statues were hacked off of the pillars and the fragments were thrown into two large depressions in front of the temple where they were discovered by the Museum's excavators in the early twentieth century.
Museum excavations, 1926-1928. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1931.
Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part II: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 90, fig. 49.