Head of Tutankhamun, Indurated Limestone

Head of Tutankhamun

New Kingdom, Amarna Period
Dynasty 18
reign of Tutankhamun
ca. 1336–1327 B.C.
From Egypt
Indurated Limestone
H. 17.2 cm (6 3/4 in.); W. 16 cm (6 5/16 in.); D. 23.6 cm (9 5/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
This head is a fragment from a statue group that represented a god seated on a throne with the young king Tutankhamun 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 the god 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 Metropolitan's head of Tutankhamun with the hand of the god 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.

A cast of the head has recently been matched by a scholar to the remains of an indurated limestone seated statue of a god in the storerooms at Karnak in Thebes. She reports that the join is minimal, but conclusive. This confirms the long supposed origin of the Museum's head from Karnak temple, and also resolves the question of the young king's pose - he was standing rather than kneeling in front of the god. The seated god at Karnak is only preserved from the waist down and is much damaged, so that the god is not identified specificially. Amun is, however, the likely candidate.

Link to 82nd & Fifth
#3460. Head of Tutankhamun
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit metmuseum.org/audioguide.
Purchased in New York from Charles D. Kelekian, 1950.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 301, fig. 186.

Robins, Gay 2001. Egyptian Statues, Shire Egyptology, 26. Princes Risborough, 36, fig. 35.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 53.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York and New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, p. 53.

Eaton-Krauss, Marianne 2016. The Unknown Tutankhamun. London, pp. 56, 59, pl. X.