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Head of an Official

A work made of granite.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of granite.


Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 13 (about 1773–1650 BCE)



About this artwork

This head of an official, with his striped wig tucked behind his ears, comes from a larger statue that was likely once displayed in a tomb chapel. Such sculptures served as receptacles for the ka (soul). To animate statues, priests performed a ceremony called the Opening of the Mouth so that the individual represented could benefit from offerings left by the living and breathe, eat, hear, and see in the afterlife. Although this man’s name, which would have been written on the statue, is now lost, the sculpture’s large scale and the choice to carve it from costly granite suggest that he was a high-ranking official.


On View, Gallery 50


Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Head of an Official


Egypt (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1773 BCE–1650 BCE




33.8 × 46.3 × 26 cm (13 3/4 × 18 1/4 × 10 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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