Head of Khaemwaset

Dynasty 19, reign of Ramesses ii, ca. 1279–1213 BC
Black granite
2005.7.1
Gift of Mr. Charles S. Ackerman and an anonymous donor

This commanding face from a colossal statue undoubtedly belongs to Crown Prince Khaemwaset, the son and heir of Ramesses II. The scale and fine carving of the piece identify it as someone of great importance and the broad face is characteristic of the long reign of Ramesses the Great. The elaborately curled wig flares out just slightly on the right side, indicating where a side lock would be rendered. That hairstyle would identify the owner as High Priest of the god Ptah, an important office occupied by Khaemwaset. He made many restorations to earlier monuments, and for that he is sometimes called the “first archaeologist.” Khaemwaset died before his father and did not accede to the throne. He was buried in a vast tomb complex at Saqqara. He became the hero of many later stories and legends, famous for his wisdom and accomplishments.