Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Royal bust

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
400–200 B.C.
Probably from Egypt
H. 6.5 cm (2 9/16 in.); W. 5.8 cm (2 5/16 in.); D. 4.8 cm (1 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Vladimir Gurewich, 1954
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Small Late Period and Ptolemaic reliefs or sculptures that depict a subject in a partial or unfinished way but are themselves finished objects constitute a special class of object. Guidelines like those for artists are often prominently exhibited as part of the object, although, in fact, many instances can be noted where the object simply could not serve as a suitable model for a traditional formal Egyptian representation. Personifications of kingship, figures that may represent the now emerging demigods Imhotep and Amenhotep Son of Hapu, and popular gods like Harpokrates or Isis, are heavily represented within the corpus.

Taken together, the figures represented and the other features indicate the reliefs and sculptures of this class, sometimes called by Egyptologists "sculptor’s models / votives," were the material of a donation practice, perhaps connected with the prolific temple building of these centuries. Unfortunately there is little to illuminate us about the mechanics of such a donation practice.

This smal royal head includes a blocked-out but unfinished uraeus and shows gridlines on all its smooth surfaces.
Donated to the museum in 1954 by Dr. Vladimir Gurewich. Previously sold at auction October 1953, Parke Bernet, New York.

Scott, Nora E. 1956. "Recent Additions to the Egyptian Collection." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 15, no. 3 (November), p. 79, figs. 1–3.

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