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Face and Shoulder from an Anthropoid Sarcophagus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The rough, coarse surface of the original material revealed in the damage on this fragment stands in contrast to the magnificence of the highly polished basalt. In the later periods of Egyptian history, artists and their patrons preferred a shiny finish for stone statues and sarcophagi. The delicate shape of the face, the outlined eyes with slightly upturned eyebrows, the high cheekbones, and the full, smiling lips are characteristic of the Ptolemaic Period.
MEDIUM Greywacke
  • Reportedly From: Giza, Egypt
  • DATES 332-30 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26, or later
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 18 1/2 × 20 1/2 × 5 in., 38.5 lb. (47 × 52.1 × 12.7 cm, 17.46kg) as mounted: 20 × 20 1/2 × 5 1/2 in. (50.8 × 52.1 × 14 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Fragment of the cover of a polished black basalt anthropoid sarcophagus. The fragment preserves most of the face, and part of the shoulders. The figure wears a smooth lappet wig; part of a wig is preserved. The eyebrows, in relief, are horizontal; the eyes are outlined with cosmetic lines. The eyeballs are slightly bulging, and the lower lid first dips then rises towards the outer edge of the eye. The nose is broad, and the filtrum is well indicated. The mouth smiles with the corners of the mouth being slightly drawn up. The lips are large, and there is a deep indentation at each corner of the mouth. There are no furrows in the face. Part of rear surface, in the area of the neck, show the original polished surface; the rest of the rear surface is rough. Condition: The nose and eyelids are chipped; top of the head missing.
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