A statue of Ramses III as a sign holder of Amun


Fascinating Egypt. There is again, an article from this magical and still mysterious country. With heartily thanks to Marie Grillot http://Marie Grillot

Statue of Ramses III in Amun sign holder – grey granite
New Kingdom – XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses III
Discovered by Georges Legrain, February 10, 1905, in the Hiding place of Karnak
K 525 – Cairo Museum: JE 38682 – CG 42150

In 1903, Gaston Maspero, director of the Antiquities Service, gave Georges Legrain, at the “Direction des travaux de Karnak”, the instruction to: “excavate a little-known part of the temple, preferably around the sacred lake”. After reflection, he chooses the courtyard of the seventh pylon… Luck or chance? Still, after the discovery of many blocks dating from the Middle and the New Kingdom, by lifting a stele of Seti I, he made, on December 26, an incredible discovery …

This is a pit, 10 to 15 meters deep, full of water, in a way a “deposit” in which were “stored” statues: “voluntarily buried and covered in ancient times”. Their extraction will prove to be very difficult, and very long too since it will continue for no less than five seasons (1903-1907). Gaston Maspero specifies that: “nearly 800 statues and 17,000 bronzes” will be extracted!

On December 26, 1903, Georges Legrain, Director of Works at Karnak discovered,
in the courtyard of the seventh pylon, “Karnak’s hiding place”
From this pit will be extracted “nearly 800 statues and 17000 bronzes” specifies Gaston Maspero

The Egyptological contribution of this “Hiding place of Karnak” will be considered and truly well documented, thanks to the notes, sketches, surveys and photos of Georges Legrain.

It was on February 10, 1905, that he noted the updating of this statue-bearer of Ramses III “found in numerous adjusted pieces”. The breaks are particularly visible at the waist and under the knees. And, what is even more regrettable is that the lower legs and feet were not found …

1.39 m high, it is carved in the round, with mastery craftsmanship, in a “speckled” grey granite. The sovereign is represented in the attitude of walking, left leg slightly forward. Despite the mutilations, and the shortages, the nobility is there and the port is “royal”!

Statue of Ramses III in Amun sign holder – grey granite
New Kingdom – XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses III
Discovered by Georges Legrain, February 10, 1905, in the Hiding place of Karnak
K 525 – Cairo Museum: JE 38682 – CG 42150

The hairstyle is a marvel in its realization, with its locks braided finely on the top of the head, then more loosely around the edges. “The head is covered with a neck cover (of a Taquyah) over which is placed a large wig, with many locks, adorned with a uraeus. The anterior and lower ends of this hairstyle fall to the pecs “specifies the discoverer in” Statues and statuettes of kings and individuals “.

The face is perfectly symmetrical and hardly suffers from the slight mutilation of the nose. The almond-shaped eyes are topped by arched eyebrows. The palate, rather small, does not lack charm. In their “Official Catalog Egyptian Museum of Cairo”, Mohamed Saleh and Hourig Sourouzian deliver this beautiful analysis: “The physiognomy is that of a sovereign in the beauty of youth, the face conforms to the final stage of a Ramesside iconography which will henceforth go on degenerating until the fall of the New Kingdom “.

Statue of Ramses III in Amun sign holder – grey graniteNew Kingdom – XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses IIIDiscovered by Georges Legrain, February 10, 1905, in the Hiding place of KarnakGeorges Legrain: K 525 – Cairo Museum: JE 38682 – CG 42150

Even if her waist is slim, the body appears powerful with its broad shoulders and marked pecs. Francesco Tiradritti describes the refined Shendyt thus: “The king wears a sophisticated loincloth, quite common in Ramesside statuary. The tight folds of the fabric converge on the front, where they are covered with a kind of tiny, richly decorated apron. in the centre, a little below the belt is a leopard’s head from which descend four bands which evoke the design of a feather. At the bottom, five uraei have been carved with a solar disk on the head.

Statue of Ramses III in Amun sign holder – grey granite

New Kingdom – XXth Dynasty – Reign of Ramses III

Discovered by Georges Legrain, February 10, 1905, in the Hiding place of Karnak

K 525 – Cairo Museum: JE 38682 – CG 42150

Published here in “Statues and statuettes of kings and individuals”, G. Legrain, Henri Hauthier, 1906

He thus continues his description, focusing on the particular side of the statue: “the sign” or “the standard”. “The left arm supports a standard at the top of which has been placed a ram’s head. It is the emblem of the god Amon-Re, as confirmed by the column of hieroglyphics executed on the pole, on which are also indicated four of the five names of the sovereign. Cartouches with the names of Ramses III are also chiselled on the shoulders and the buckle of the belt. On the left side of the statue, in the space between the left leg and the right, there is represented the image of the crown prince, wearing a ceremonial robe and holding a fan in his hand “

Mohamed Saleh and Hourig Sourouzian specify the role of these statues of such a particular type: “The royal statues holding the sign of a deity are related to the festivals that took place in the temples, during which we walked in procession, the boat and the sacred stake of the god. The king, who is supposed to lead the festival in person, perpetuates this moment by statues carrying signs placed at the entrance of the temples “. So Ramses III donated it to the temple of Karnak …

Ramses III represented on the walls of his tomb in the Valley of the Kings – KV 11 – XXth dynasty
Tombe de Ramsès III – KV 11XXème dynastie

Succeeding his father Setnakht, founder of the 20th Dynasty, he reigned over the Two Lands from 1186 to 1154 BC, that is to say for more than 31 years. He died, it seems, in his 65th year following a palace conspiracy… His memory remains very present on the west bank of Thebes, by its great temple of millions of years in Medinet Habu, and by its magnificent tomb of the Valley of the Kings (KV 11)…

When it was discovered, this statue was recorded by Georges Legrain K 525 (Cachette de Karnak). Restored and basked, it was recorded in the Journal des Entrées of the Cairo Museum, JE 38682 and in the General Catalog CG 42150.

Marie Grillot

KV11, one of the largest tombs in Luxor
Most tombs have a long, straight corridor — but this one takes a slight turn because it ran into a neighboring burial site!



Statue of Ramesses the Third, Egyptian Museum


Karnak Cachette and G. Legrain’s “K” numbers, IFAO


La Cachette de Karnak – New perspectives on the discoveries of Georges Legrain, edited by Laurent Coulon IFAO, 2016, 616 pages

Statues and statuettes of kings and individuals.v.49, by G. Legrain; Henri Hauthier, 1906


Gaston Maspero, Letters from Egypt, Correspondence with Louise Maspero, Seuil, 2003

Gaston Maspero the Gentleman Egyptologist, Pygmalion, 1999

Official catalogue Egyptian Museum of Cairo, Mohamed Saleh, Hourig Sourouzian, Verlag Philippe von Zabern, 1997

Treasures of Egypt – The Wonders of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Francesco Tiradritti

The Egypt of the Pharaohs at the Cairo Museum, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Abeer El-Shahawy, Matḥaf al-Miṣrī


11 thoughts on “A statue of Ramses III as a sign holder of Amun

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Amazing to have found all those statues of historical significance and how long it took to excavate them. The first image looks like Osiris. I followed the link, but it isn’t working. Is this Ramses III in the crown of Upper Egypt? So many questions. So much to learn. Thanks for sharing this exquisite history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is Ramses III I wonder why the link doesn’t work. Tomorrow, I will look forward to find out on my PC 😉 and you are right; there are so many questions. Thank you my dearest Elaine 🙏❤❤


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