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 which was connected by a long causeway to a valley temple. To the north and northwest of the valley temple he constructed the Harmakhis Temple and the Great Sphinx.
Many statues and fragments of astonishing quality and in a spectrum of fine stones were recovered from these temples or in their vicinity. This fragment was found at Giza and entered the MacGregor collection; its similarity to the faces of statues of the king from his temples and the traces of a royal beard on the chin identify it as a portrait of Khafre. The surface and warmth of the stone and the sensitive indication of fine muscles around the nose and particularly around the mouth are remarkable.