Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Head of a king as Khepri, possibly Ptolemy VI Philometor

Ptolemaic or Roman Period
reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor
180–145 B.C.
From Egypt
Limestone, paint traces
H. 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in.); W. 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in.); D. 8.4 cm (3 5/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Fletcher Fund and The Guide Foundation Inc. Gift, 1966
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
Ptolemy VI Philometor ascended the throne as a child and his mother, Cleopatra I, acted as regent. He married his sister, Cleopatra II, and ruled jointly with her.

A scarab beetle designating the god Khepri is carved in relief on top of this royal head, which belongs stylistically to the Ptolemaic Period. The representation of the pharaoh as Khepri, a creative god, has a long history, although it has been suggested the representation here is tied more specificially to the Ptolemy VI, one of whose names refers to Ptah-Khepri.
Formerly Albert Gallatin Collection, purchased by him from Adrian Minassian, New York, May 1952. Gallatin Collection purchased by the Metropolitan Museum from Mr. Gallatin's estate, 1966.

Stanwick, Paul 2002. Portraits of the Ptolemies: Greek Kings as Egyptian Pharaohs. Austin, cat. B9, pp. 34, 45, 57, 61-2, 69-70, 108.

Minas-Nerpel, Martina 2005. "Ein bislang unbekannter käferbekrönter Königskopf der Spät- oder Ptolemäerzeit." In Bulletin of the Egyptian Museum, 2, entire article.

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