This royal head was acquired in 1821 by Ernst August Burghart, who was charged with the acquisition of antiquities for the Imperial collection. Until recently the sitter remained anonymous. Initially the head was dated to the Late Period (724-333 BC). However, the publication of fragments of statues from a sanctuary on the island of Elephantine in Upper Egypt allowed the American Egyptologist, Biri Fay, to identify the body that once belonged to this head. Although excavated in 1932 it was only published in 1985. The body belonging to the head in Vienna – catalogued as Aswan 1318 – features royal inscriptions that allow us to identify the enthroned king depicted here: it is Amenemhet V Sechemkare of the 13th Dynasty. Amenemhet V is the last pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty – known as the classical period of Egyptian history; in many ways it served as the model for the art of the Late Period. The 12th Dynasty was succeeded by the 13th Dynasty whose c. fifty rulers reigned on average for no more than three years and, with few exceptions, did not wield any real power. This bust is one of the few royal portraits from the 13th Dynasty and therefore of seminal importance for Egyptologists. Amenemhet V wears the royal Nemes-headdress that falls over his shoulders and breast. Today, the Uraeus – another royal symbol – on his forehead, his nose and the left part of his headdress are lost. His expression with its faint smile is mellow and soft. It is remarkable that it was possible to create such an outstanding royal portrait at the end of the Middle Kingdom which was marked by the decline of royal power. © Regina Hölzl, Meisterwerke der Ägyptisch-Orientalischen Sammlung, Wien 2007.