Head of King Userkaf

Head of King Userkaf

c. 2454-2447 BC

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


Did you know?

Visible chisel marks on the side of the crown imply that another figure once stood to the king's right; only a god or goddess could have stood in this prominent position.


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.

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