Permanent Collection Catalogue Available
Egypt, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, reign of Userkaf
Painted limestone, Overall: 6.5 x 7.2 cm (2 9/16 x 2 13/16 in.); Face: 4.8 x 4.8 cm (1 7/8 x 1 7/8 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1979.2
Despite the monumental achievements of the Old Kingdom’s Pyramid Age, few images of its rulers survive. This head has been identified as King Userkaf, the first king of Dynasty 5. Userkaf built a modest pyramid at Saqqara and a temple to the sun god Ra at Abusir. According to later tradition, the first three kings of Dynasty 5 were the children of Ra himself and a mortal woman. From Userkaf’s reign on, the kings of Egypt were called "Sons of Ra." Here, Userkaf wears the two basic items of regalia that identify him as king: the tall, conical White Crown of Upper (southern) Egypt, and the royal false beard.
CMA, 13 February-9 March 1980, The Year in Review for 1979, cat.: CMA Bulletin 67, no. 3 (March 1980), no. 1, illus. p. 63; CMA, 22 November 1983-22 January 1984, Portraiture: The Image of the Individual; CMA 1996 (not in catalogue)
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