Head of Amenhotep III Wearing the Round Wig
Although he must have been nearly 50 years old when this portrait was carved, in this head sculpture, King Amenhotep III appears more youthful than ever. Over a round, curly wig he wears a diadem with side streamers adorned with uraei or rearing cobras bearing sun disks on their heads.
The stone quartzite was associated with the sun on account of its ruddy hues, ranging in color from brown to red to purple. It was a favorite of Amenhotep III, the king who called himself the “dazzling sun-disk of all lands.”
Amenhotep was the son of Thutmose IV and his minor wife Mutemwiya. He was born probably around 1401 BC. Later in his life, Amenhotep commissioned the depiction of his divine birth to be displayed at Luxor Temple. Amenhotep claimed that his true father was the god Amun, who had taken the form of Thutmose IV to father a child with Mutemwiya.
In Regnal Year 2, Amenhotep married Tiye, the daughter of Yuya and Thuya. Tiye was Great Royal Wife throughout Amenhotep’s reign. Many commemorative scarabs were commissioned and distributed during Amenhotep’s reign.
On the “marriage scarabs” Amenhotep affirmed his divine power and the legitimacy of his wife. With Tiye, Amenhotep fathered at least two sons, Crown Prince Thutmose and Amenhotep IV (later called Akhenaten).
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, ca. 1391-1353 BC. Brown quartzite. Dimensions: overall: 17.3 x 17 x 25.3 cm (6 13/16 x 6 11/16 x 9 15/16 in.) Now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. 1961.417