Head from a Statue with Magical Texts

Period: Late Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 30

Reign: probably reign of Nectanebo II

Date: probably 360–343 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Basalt

Dimensions: H. 21.2 cm (8 3/8 in.); W. 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.); D. 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in.)

Credit Line: Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.281.102

Description

Magical texts like those on the Metternich stela (50.85) probably covered all but the face, feet, and hands of the statue to which this fragment belonged. The statue would have stood in a temple where it could be visited by persons wishing to be healed. Inscribed statues of this type can almost all be dated to the fourth century.

A man well-advanced in years is depicted, his skin soft and marked by fine creases but his small eyes and his wide mouth still sure. Realistic representations are known from late Dynasty 26 and probably continued to be made during the Persian Period, although little can be assigned to that interval with certainty; thereafter they knew continuous popularity from the fourth century until the end of the Ptolemaic Period.

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