Fragmentary Face of King Khafre

Period: Old Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 4

Reign: reign of Khafre

Date: ca. 2520–2494 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt; Probably from Memphite Region, Giza, Pyramid Complex of Khafre

Medium: Travertine (Egyptian alabaster)

Dimensions: H. 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in)

Credit Line: Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926

Accession Number: 26.7.1392


Khafre was the son of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. He built his own pyramid, the Second Pyramid, at Giza just to the south of his father's. Khafre's pyramid complex included a mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid and a valley temple of monolithic granite blocks connected by a long causeway. To the northwest of the valley temple he constructed the Sphinx and its temple. Many magnificent statues of the king were recovered from the valley temple. This fragment was said to have been found at Giza and its similarity to the faces of the statues from the Khafre valley temple and the traces of a royal beard on the chin identify it as a portrait of Khafre. It displays—even at a small scale—the subtle and very sensitive modeling and finely finished surfaces of these masterpieces of Old Kingdom royal sculpture.