Fragment of a Royal Head, Probably Apries

Period: Late Period, Saite

Dynasty: Dynasty 26

Reign: reign of Apries

Date: 589–570 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Black diorite

Dimensions: H.30 × W. 21.3 × D. 12.9 cm (11 13/16 × 8 3/8 × 5 1/16 in.)

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1994

Accession Number: 1994.198


Although in fragmentary condition, this piece is a royal image of the highest artistic quality. The sculptor, a master of working hard stones, differentiated with superb sensitivity the various surfaces of the bulging metal helmet, the leather of the strips or cap that the king wore under the helmet, and the fleshy facial features. Surviving images of Dynasty 26 kings are rare, generally small, and often fragmentary.

This over-lifesize fragment probably came from a seated statue of the energetic pharaoh, Apries. Kings of Dynasty 26 were constantly involved in conflicts with surrounding kingdoms, particularly those northeast of Egypt. Despite some successes, a foreign defeat combined with growing internal tensions led to Apries' overthrow by the usurper, Amasis, after nineteen years on the throne; what remains of this image of Apries may be the result of willful destruction.