Votive Ram Head of Penta-weret

This splendid votive bust of a ram head with curving horns and stylized mane is placed on an inscribed pedestal. The top of the pedestal is marked by a cavetto cornice and a torus molding. The front has a shallow incised decoration of Amenhotep I in front of an offering stand. He is identified as “Amenhotep of Karoi”, meaning of southern Nubia.

Other inscriptions mention the “Priest of Amun of Karnak with right of access, the scribe of the barn of the temple of Amun, Penta-weret” as the donor of the statue. The offering formula mentions, of course, “Amun-Re, the Ruler of Thebes”, appearing in this statue in his form of a ram.

Votive Ram’s Head
Votive Ram Head

The ram’s head apparently played a special role during certain festivals in Thebes. It served as the hieroglyph for “majesty, respect”, especially used for Amun. This majestic, monumental votive gift, a donation from Penta-weret to honour the deified king Amenhotep I in the temple of Amun at Karnak, is one of the more important creations of the later Ramesside Period.

This green stone is called “Serpentinite”, but also “Serpentina moschinata”, “Green frog”, “Marble green frog”. It is an ultrabasic metamorphic rock, characterized by a light green background on which stand out dark green spots, almost black.

Votive Ram Head of Penta-weret
Votive Ram Head of Penta-weret

This stone was used in Egypt since the Predynastic period and they continued to employ it until the New Kingdom. From serpentinite the ancients mainly obtained small vases, amulets and funerary objects, and they rarely used it in architecture.

New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, ca. 1189-1070 BC. H 16,1 cm, B 8,3 cm, T 9,3 cm, G 1961 g. Serpentinite, from Karnak. Now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Inv. 1029