Head of King Userkaf
This head of King Userkaf was found in his Sun Temple dedicated by him to the god Re at Abusir. The royal head, wearing the Deshret or the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, is a striking example of the style marking the beginning of the 5th Dynasty.
When it was discovered, it was first attributed to the goddess Neith. However, the occurrence of a slim mustache on the upper lip proved that the head was a royal portrait of the king.
Userkaf was the first king of the 5th Dynasty and for the first time associated a solar temple with a funerary temple and is depicted with the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. This beautiful uninscribed head, found in 1957 during the joint excavations of German and Swiss Institutes in Cairo, is one of the masterpieces of the Old Kingdom sculpture.
Userkaf built a pyramid in Saqqara close to that of Djoser, a location that forced architects to put the associated mortuary temple in an unusual position, to the south of the pyramid. The latter was much smaller than those built during the 4th Dynasty but the mortuary complex was lavishly and extensively decorated with fine painted reliefs.
Old Kingdom, 5th Dynasty, ca. ca. 2498-2345 BC. Greywacke. Dimensions: height: 38 cm, width 25 cm. From Sun temple of Userkaf, Abusir. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 90220