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Ptolemaic Prince

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
This royal teen wears a circular diadem with a uraeus (cobra), symbolizing his divine authority. His wavy hair and naturalistic face reflect the influence of Hellenistic sculpture during the Ptolemaic era (when pharaohs of Greek origin or heritage ruled Egypt). The figure’s body—with long limbs and a short wrapper—recalls Egyptian precedents. Unlike Kuba ndop, which use distinct visual symbols to identify rulers (such as the drum bearing a hand motif on the figure at left), pharaonic Egyptian sculptures use hieroglyphic text to identify subjects by name. The blank pillar at the figure’s back suggests the sculpture is unfinished. Although this figure is unidentified by hieroglyphics, his youth, crown, and Hellenistic style suggest that he is Caesarion, son of Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar.
MEDIUM Quartzite
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 51–30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Late Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 12 1/2 x 5 5/16 x 3 3/8 in. (31.8 x 13.5 x 8.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Statue of a late Egyptian kinglet, standing, arms by sides with hands clenched holding cylinders; traditional kilt with plain belt. Hair represented in naturalistic Roman style and encircled by narrow diadem, with uraeus; eyes originally inlaid. Uninscribed rear pillar. May represent one of the sons of Cleopatra. Condition: Sculpture broken across thighs with lower section lost. Minor chips. Eyes lost. Nose Broken.
    CAPTION Ptolemaic Prince, 51–30 B.C.E. Quartzite, 12 1/2 x 5 5/16 x 3 3/8 in. (31.8 x 13.5 x 8.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 54.117. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 54.117_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 54.117_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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