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Work Head of a colossal statue of Amenophis III

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Head of a colossal statue of Amenophis III

© 2006 Musée du Louvre / Christian Décamps

Egyptian Antiquities
The New Kingdom (circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)

Author(s):
Barbotin Christophe

This head represents Amenophis III as the king of Upper Egypt. It belonged to one of the granite colossi erected by the king in his temple at Kom el-Hettan, whose entrance was flanked by the Colossi of Memnon. This temple, now in ruins, was once adorned with a great wealth of statuary.

Amenophis III as king of Upper Egypt

The king is represented wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, or "white crown" - a sort of miter with a bulbous top. The highly polished stone, huge almond eyes (designed to be seen from below), and thick-lipped mouth are all characteristic of monumental statuary from the reign of Amenophis III. The left side of this head literally melted away under the effect of the humid ground on which it lay for centuries after the fall of the stone giant. It originally belonged to a colossus representing the king standing straight, with his feet together like those on the base of a similar statue (a18) exhibited next to this one.

A grandiose temple -

The great courtyard of the temple of the royal cult at Kom el-Hettan was adorned with a row of statues of this kind - in pink granite, wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt (on the east side), and in quartzite, wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt (on the west side). They were all at least eight meters high. The temple of Amenophis III at Kom el-Hettan was indisputably one of the msot extraordinary edifices ever built by the Egyptians, both as regards its size (about 560 meters from east to west) and the splendid statuary that was made for it. Many of the hundreds of statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet that were commissioned by Amenophis III definitely came from here (see the examples exhibited on the other side of the same room).

- but a poor construction

Unfortunately, the temple was constructed rather carelesssly, too quickly, and on humid ground. It is now almost totally ruined, the only remaining elements being the Colossi of Memnon (16 meters high), a monumental stele, and the bases of a few columns. However, the archaeological excavations currently being undertaken at the site by the German Institute in Cairo are unearthing precious evidence of its gigantic statuary.

Technical description

  • Head of a colossal statue of Amenophis III

    18th Dynasty, reign of Amenophis III, c. 1391- 1353 BC

    Temple of Amenophis III at Kom el-Hettan (on the West Bank at Luxor)

    Aswan (quarrying and hewing) and Thebes (finishing touches)

  • Sculpture in the round, pink granite

    H. 1.98 m

  • Head of a colossus of King Amenophis III

    A 19

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    Ground floor
    The temple
    Room 12

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