This rather fine piece is a little over 40cm tall, and represents an ancestor or some sort of revered person. I don’t think the provenance of this piece is entirely known, but other examples have been found in houses or tombs mostly at Deir el Medina dating to the 19th Dynasty.

I don’t think it’s clear what their function was, but one place I looked when looking them up had a drawing of a stela which shows a woman making offerings to a bust like this – so clearly the focus of some sort of ritual.

This example is unusually large and well made, and given how much paint remains it must’ve been particularly vivid and eye catching when it was new. The face has a serene expression that I find compelling, and I like the details like the earrings and the elaborate broad collar.

Ancestral Bust. From Thebes, Deir el Medina. New Kingdom, early Dynasty 19, c. 1320-1297 BCE Acc. No.: 66.99.45

It is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 66.99.45

See it on my photo site:

There’s a short paper from the UCLA Encylopedia of Egyptology available here, including the line drawing of a stela showing the bust in use:

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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