An Egyptian Alexandrian Portrait Head of a Priest, Late Ptolemaic Period ca 50 - 25 BCE

carved in the round during the time of Cleopatra, of the type known to be a Priest of Isis, turned to his right, with stern face, square jaw, grooved folds flanking the nostrils, and wide-set eyes, a deep circular hole for a headdress on the crown of the head.  Particular attention has been paid to details such as the shape of the skull and the gentle curves of the temples and of the areas above the ears.  

Every day, before Egyptian priests began their duties, they underwent ritual purification, which included shaving off all the hair on their bodies. Perhaps the owner of this statue wished to be immortalized in stone as a dedicated and purified priest.

Condition: Heavy losses to the front of the face, particularly the nose and mouth, the ears unfinished which is typical of Alexandrian portraiture of the time. Despite the losses, the piece is beautifully rendered, a most striking and elegant portrait.

Dimensions: Height: 11 3/4 in. (29.9 cm).

Provenance:  Private Australian collection, acquired Sotheby's, London, May 6th-7th, 1982, no. 322, illus. 


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