Limestone; H. 22 1/8 in. (56 cm)
Gift of Nanette R. Kelekian, in memory of Beatrice and Charles Dikran Kelekian, 2006 (2006.270)
The ancient Egyptians regarded Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 (r. ca. 20512000 B.C.) and Ahmose I of Dynasty 18 (r. ca. 15501525 B.C.) as two of their greatest kings. Five centuries apart, each was responsible for reuniting Egypt after a period of disunity, Mentuhotep ushering in the Middle Kingdom and Ahmose the New Kingdom. The inscription on the back of this head identifies it as one of the few preserved representations of Ahmose I. The broad, relatively flat face and taut, smiling mouth seem to have been influenced by images of Mentuhotep II, statues of whom would still have been very much in evidence in Ahmose's time. The large, slanting, protuberant eyes, however, are more in keeping with statues from late Dynasty 17 and early Dynasty 18, the formative years of a new sculptural style that predominated later in Dynasty 18.
In modern times, this head was first recorded in the business inventory of Dikran G. Kelekian in 1919. It remained in the Kelekian family until 2006. Since 1919, it has been extensively published and has been on display at the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and, most recently, the Metropolitan Museum.