Egyptian Schist

Statuette of a queen, Middle Kingdom, late Dynasty 12–Early Dynasty 13 (ca. 1825–1750 b.c.)

H. 6 3/8 in. (16.3 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1965 (65.59.1)

This small but intriguing work depicts a royal woman wearing an archaic, globular wig with horizontal striations and a bald area above the forehead. The aureus cobra at the brow marks the woman's royal status. Uniquely, a pair of vultures with outstretched wings forms a protective band on top of the head. Most striking, however, is the thick cloak with its stiff collar. It is pulled tight over the figure's crossed arms, leaving the top of the chest and the shoulders bare; only the left hand emerges from the garment. The combination of this garment and the unusual hairstyle is known from a few early Old Kingdom reliefs depicting royal women, two of them mothers. The preserved part of this woman's face, with its hooded eyes, places the work, however, securely in the late Middle Kingdom.