This work of art is important and relevant to its time period because this is the Face of Senwosret III, the ruling Pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12. Senwosret III is noted for his military achievements.
Overview: This visual only has the surface of his face. It’s made from some orange looking stone. At the top there seems to have been something across his head that is no longer there. His eyes are very large, heavy lidded eyes. His lips are much thinner looking than his eyes. Most of his nose is broken off but his cheeks look somewhat hollow.
Parts: At the top there is a distant difference moving form the “skin” of Senwosret to something else. I believe this could be a Nemes Headdress that
Title: The title of this object is Face of Senwosret III. This tells us that this ancient face is the face of that Pharaoh.
Interpretation:The facial representations of this king seem to be like a deep unhappiness of thought which is an expression not usually found on the faces of Egyptian kings. They’re generally portrayed with a more youthful expression. Most have stern looking faces but the expression here is somewhat softened, suggesting the face of a living, aging man. This image is one of the few instances in Egyptian art in which the ruler seems consciously to have chosen to represent his humanity rather than an idealized image of eternal kingship which was regular back then.
Context: During this time he was noted for his military achievements. He mounted four campaigns into Lower Nubia, where he confronted the powerful kingdom of Kush. He established the southern border of Egypt at Semna at the Second Cataract and founded or expanded a string of fortresses along the Nile in Nubia to control all movement and trade. Senwosret was also building his pyramid complex at Dahshur.
Conclusion: This is overall piece is important to our studies because it shows a different tone of kingship in this time period. This is important so we know the variety of Egyptian kings and what they were stereotypically like so we know those who differ like Senwosret III. This king wasn’t seen as stern. His people saw his humanity thought his expression and decided to captivate him that way.