Head of a sphinx, possibly of Amenemhat I, Dolomitic marble

Head of a sphinx, possibly of Amenemhat I

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12
reign of Amenemhat I
ca. 1981–1952 B.C.
From Levant; Possibly from Tyre
Dolomitic marble
H. 14.1 cm (5 9/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Fletcher Fund and The Guide Foundation Inc. Gift, 1966
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 108
The smiling mouth, wide open eyes, and rounded cheeks suggest a youthful king, and the proportions of the nemes, along with the depth of the break, indicate that the head was part of a comparatively small sphinx. The low forehead, high eyebrows and high position of the ears are reminiscent of the head in the Metropolitan Museum of Art attributed to Mentuhotep III (66.99.3), but the eyes of the present head are larger, the cheeks leaner and the mouth more modulated. These features are also seen in the head of a statue inscribed for Amenemhat I in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (JE 60520) and are even more closely matched by the head of a non-royal statue, also in Cairo (CG 409), which was found in the mastaba tomb of the steward Nakht at Lisht North. That mastaba is undoubtedly contemporary with the pyramid of Amenemhat I, or only very slightly later. These - and other - parallels make the identification of the present head as Amenemhat I very likely.
Collection of Albert Gallatin, purchased by the Museum in 1966. Purchased by him from Arts and Antiques (Lacarde-Bonefoy), New York, October 1952. Previous to that Jacques Matossian Collection.

Fischer, Henry G. 1967. "The Gallatin Egyptian Collection." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 25, no. 7 (March), p. 258, fig. 6.