Face attributed to Ptolemy II Philadelphos or a contemporary

Period: Ptolemaic Period

Dynasty: Ptolemaic Dynasty

Reign: reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphos

Date: 285–246 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Memphite Region, Heliopolis (Iunu; On), Near the obelisk, BSAE excavations 1912

Medium: Greywacke

Dimensions: H. 16.2 cm (6 3/8 in.); W. 10.8 cm (4 1/4 in.); D. 6 cm (2 3/8 in.)

Credit Line: Gift of The Egyptian Research Account and British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1912

Accession Number: 12.187.31


This very fine fragment from a large statue is attributed to the pharaoh Ptolemy II, or perhaps Ptolemy III, or possibly to a high official of those reigns. Unlike portraits of the 30th dynasty pharaohs and early Ptolemaic royal portraits that continue in that vein, the face shows rounded eyes, fleshy cheeks over suppressed bone structure, a broad mouth, and a knobby chin, features that specialists note may reflect early influence of Hellenistic art on Egyptian.
The face was excavated at Heliopolis.