Relief of King Senusret III
This decorative lintel relief with hieroglyphs identify king Senusret III wearing the crown of Lower Egypt (left) and the crown of Upper Egypt (right) during the Heb Sed. Horus and Seth on standards give million years of life to the king.
Sed festivals were jubilees celebrated after a ruler had held the throne for thirty years and then every three to four years after that. They primarily were held to rejuvenate the king’s strength and stamina while still sitting on the throne, celebrating the continued success of the king.
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.
Senusret III was an aggressive administrator and a shrewd warrior. Here he is represented with these tired eyes after leading several long campaigns to Nubia and Canaan to restore Egyptian power.
Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret III, ca. 1878-1839 BC. From Medamud. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 6189