From Egypt; Probably from Middle Egypt, Amarna (Akhetaten)
h. 13 cm (5 1/8 in); w. 12.5 cm (4 15/16 in); d. 12.5 cm (4 15/16 in)
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 121
This striking fragment is from a statue composed of different materials. The back of the piece shows remains of the mortise that fitted onto a tenon extending from the statue's body which may have been made of Egyptian alabaster to represent a white garment. Two headdresses might have fit this head: the khat-headdress, or the Nubian wig (as seen on the canopic jar lid, 30.8.54, in the same gallery).
The royal woman represented here cannot be identified with certainty. It is difficult to imagine that the already aged Queen Tiye—the mother of Akhenaten and highly respected as a wise woman at Amarna—was shown as a beauty of such sensuous character. Queens Nefertiti and Kiya, however, are both possible subjects.
Purchased by Lord Carnarvon (d. 1923) in Cairo from Maurice Nahman.. Purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, 1926.
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 50.