Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Cap crown

egyptian art cap crown falcon

Tomb of Khaemwaset (QV 44)

NOTE: This tight-fitting crown was known from probably the Old Kingdom (these examples may represent close-cropped hair rather than a cap) and certainly the Middle Kingdom, although it was not terribly common.   It appeared on the heads of queens during the Amarna period, but not on kings during the early New Kingdom although Tutankhamun’s mummy wore an elaborate cap crown embellished with four uraei.  Seti I wears the crown, covered in discs like the khepresh crown often bears, in his temple at Abydos, and Ramses III wears it rather regularly in both his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu and the tombs of his sons in the Valley of the Queens.  This particular example also displays a falcon.  When shown in color, it is often yellow

egyptian art cap crown Ramses

but is also painted blue in a number of examples.  It is generally considered to represent the king acting in a priestly function, but this explanation is not totally satisfactory.  For more on this crown, see S. Collier, “The Crowns of Pharaoh: their development and significance in ancient Egyptian Kingship” PhD dissertation, UCLA 1996; E. Ertman, “The cap crown of Nefertiti” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 13 (1976) 63-66; and W.V. Davies “Origins of the blue crown” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 68 (1982), 68-76.

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The Art of Counting is dedicated to the memory of Margery Meilleur, who first taught me to view history through the eyes of the images we create.