Head of King Senusret III

Head of King Senusret III. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 31619

Senusret III, who ruled Egypt for about 39 years, was a great king of the 12th Dynasty and is considered to be, perhaps, the most powerful Egyptian ruler of the dynasty. During his reign, artists did not follow the older idealistic forms in rendering the features of the royal sculptures, but showed a tendency towards more realistic, mostly exaggerated features. 

The king was no more considered to be a divinity, but a human being. This is reflected in the king’s face, which has wrinkles, a pouting mouth and a protruding chin. All these show old age, a serious nature and weariness. On his head he wears the pleated linen royal headdress with the uraeus, or royal cobra, protecting his brow. His ears are relatively large and his small eyes are hidden beneath the heavy eyebrows. The uraeus and the nose are almost completely broken.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret III, ca. 1878-1839 BC. Gray granite. From Faiyum. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 31619

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