© Kunsthistorisches Museum

Name of Object:

Reserve head


Vienna, Austria

Holding Institution:

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Egyptian Collection

 About Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Date of Object:

4th Dyn. c. 2600 BC; acquired by Hermann Junker during his excavation in Giza 1912–1929

Inventory Number:

ÄOS Inv.Nr. 7787

Material(s) / Technique(s):



Height 27,7 cm, B 17,3 cm, Diameter 24,5 cm


The Reserve head is one of the major works of the Viennese collection, found in an early tomb in the burial grounds of Giza. Though stylized, the visage is still full of life, with simultaneously idealized and very regular features. Scholars still disagree about the purpose of this type of object. Traditional explanations proffer their use as surrogate heads for the soul (mummifying having then been only in its earliest stages).

Citation of this web page:

"Reserve head" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=object;AWE;at;28;en

Database entry origination:

Copyedited by: Daniel de la VegaDaniel de la Vega

Daniel de la Vega is a copy editor based in Portland, Oregon. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2014 and has since done editing and localization work on everything from college applications to magazines to video game dialogue.

MWNF Working Number: AT 029

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