Side-lock of Youth

Prince Amunherkhopshef
Prince Amunherkhopshef
New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, c. 1186–1155 B.C.
Tomb of Amunherkhopshef (QV55), Valley of Queens, West bank, Luxor.
Prince Amunherkhopshef was the eldest son (and heir) of Ramesses III and Isis Ta-Hemdjert. The Prince died at approximately 15 years of age, likely during the 30th year of Ramesses’ reign.
Photograph by manna4u

The term “side lock of youth” is not totally true, as the “side lock” is typically plaited hair rather than “a lock”, with the end twisted into a spiral. In Middle Kingdom portrayals, the end is rolled forward, rather like a lone ‘pigtail’. Alas, throughout history and even in modern times, a “lock of hair” is a collection of human hair that is typically bunched or fastened together in some fashion. A lock of hair may be on a person’s head or have been cut off the head. When linked to the head, a lock of hair is typically a tress, curl, or ringlet of hair. When a lock of hair is removed from the head, it may be retained for symbolic reasons. It is likely that from which Egyptologists got the term “side lock”.

The side lock was typically worn on the right. It can, however, be represented on the left or right side of a relief, as the lock would not be visible on a figure in profile looking left. The head be shaved bald with only a chunk of hair kept growing long on the parietal ridge, which was then plaited into a style and decorated with a clip or clasp. Some royal youth of both sexes can also be seen wearing cap-style headdresses or even wigs accompanied by an additional side-lock protruding.

Plaited "side lock of a youth" with fibre matting.
Plaited “side lock of a youth” with fibre matting.
Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, c. 2345- 2181 B.C.
From Mostagedda (An Nazlah al-Mustajiddah), Upper Egypt.
British Museum. EA62500

The pharaohs’ children used the side lock of youth to show that they were children, as well as to indicate their relationship to the youthful Horus. As the heir apparent to his father Osiris, the young Horus wore the side lock, just like them.

Mummy of a young Prince
Mummy of a young Prince (possibly son of Tiye & Amenhotep, Thutmose). Read more.

In accordance with mythological precedent, the king’s offspring, as designated heirs, acquired the Horus lock as a symbol of the unique duties that came with that status. In iconography, royal children were represented naked and suckling on their finger, with their heads completely bald except for the side lock.

The "side lock of youth" still seen in North African nations as recent as the 19th century.
The “side lock of youth” still seen in North African nations as recent as the 19th century. Here we see a Amazigh boy from Morocco, photographed in 1880, with the hairstyle, which the Amazigh people referred to as, “Tamzourt”.
Triad statue of Ni-ka-re (Nykara). Ankh-ma-re with the “pondering” pose of an Ancient Egyptian child.
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