Bust of Ramesses II

This bust of Ramesses II closely resembles a statue of Ramesses in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. However, the Cairo piece wears a long wig, rather than the Blue Khepresh Crown worn by the Turin statue (Cat. 1380). A uraeus can be seen at the king’s forehead, and he is shown with a young face, and a slight smile. His nose is missing. Below, he wears a collar composed of five rows of beads, and a tight pleated robe.

Iconic, innovative, and visionary, Ramesses II is arguably the most heralded king of all ancient Egypt. Known historically and in pop culture as Ramesses the Great, the deified leader reclaimed lost lands, expanded his nation’s borders, brokered the first peace treaty in human history, and spearheaded the building of cities, temples, and monuments — to name a few of his myriad accomplishments.

Bust of Ramesses II as a Youth
Bust of Ramesses II as a Youth

Famously, the king’s tomb was ransacked by robbers, leaving historians and the world believing that his mummy and corresponding treasures buried with him were lost — forever. However, in 1881, Ramesses the Great’s mummy cache was dramatically re-discovered along with other long-lost royal mummies.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. H. 80 cm. W. 70 cm. Black granite, from Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. CG 616