Statue of King Ramesses II

Statue of King Ramesses II

This sculpture is world renowned as the Turin masterpiece portrait of Egypt’s longest reigning and most famous pharaoh. King Ramesses II appears in the Blue Crown or war helmet, grasping the heqa-sceptre.

Breaking with traditional royal portraits, the great general wears a long full robe that is asymmetrically draped to create an enormous bell sleeve and his feet are shod in sandals. Had the Amarna Period not intervened, we would expect the king to be barefoot and wearing a kilt that allowed free movement, as on the battlefield.

It is also the Amarna artistic innovation that made it possible for the face to be more realistically modeled, with real sockets and lids for the eyes. The nose is extremely large, the mouth is proportionally small and the chin is even recessive, all which are unusual until this point.

A concession to tradition is the incision of the eyebrows and cosmetic stripes. The nine bows, representing the enemy foreign tribes, are symbolically incised under the king’s feet and two prisoners, an Asiatic and a Nubian are also depicted on the base, underscoring the king’s absolute supremacy over Egypt and its possessions.

Left and right of the king’s legs, on a smaller scale and according to their relative importance, are the figures of Queen Nefertari, identified in the inscription as beloved by the Theban goddess Mut, and Ramesses’ son Amun-her-khepeshef, identified as the right hand plume bearer and beloved son.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. From Karnak. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. Cat. 1380

Foundation deposits and storerooms of Ramses I…

Foundation deposits and storerooms of Ramses II Temple in Abydos uncovered:

This temple isn’t one tourists usually see. It’s quite small, for Ramesses II (don’t let him hear I said that). It stood to reason, really, that there had to be more of the complex. Glad to see it’s being investigated.

Foundation deposits and storerooms of Ramses I…

Foundation deposits and storerooms of Ramses II Temple in Abydos uncovered:

This temple isn’t one tourists usually see. It’s quite small, for Ramesses II (don’t let him hear I said that). It stood to reason, really, that there had to be more of the complex. Glad to see it’s being investigated.

Bust of King Ramesses II

Bust of King Ramesses II

This bust comes from a seated statue of Ramesses II. He is portrayed with a short wig held in place by a band with a uraeus, the royal cobra.

The king is depicted as a young man with a full face, jutting eyebrows, rather narrow eyes, and a calm smile. The corners of the lips are slightly raised. The king wears a wide necklace made of many strings of pearls. He is wearing a pleated garment with long, wide sleeves.

What remains of his left arm lies by his body while his right arm is folded across his chest gripping the scepter Heka, the symbol of sovereignty. The pharaoh’s wrist is adorned with a bracelet decorated with the Eye of Horus, the wadjet, symbol of good health and divine perfection. Some details of the statue, such as the pleated garment and the short wig, were fashionable at that time.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. Black granite, from Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 37485

Bracelet of Ramesses IIThe solid gold bangle i…

Bracelet of Ramesses II

The solid gold bangle is composed of two parts, linked on one side by a hinge and on the other by a clasp. The broader upper part of the bracelet is decorated with a double-headed duck. Its body consist of a large chunk of lapis lazuli framed by broad bands of gold plate. The two heads and the duck´s spread out tail were made of gold decorated with small soldered beads and wire.

Gold mining has a long history in Egypt, as ancient artifacts attest. This gold and lapis lazuli bracelet was probably worn by Ramesses II or one of his favorites. From Bubastis (Tell-Basta). Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 39873

Photograph: Araldo de Luca /Archivo White Star

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